Eliza is a twenty-eight year old Aboriginal mother of three children, all of whom are in out of home care. She sees the children twice a week.
There is an apprehended violence order (AVO) in place that prevents Eliza’s ex-partner and father of two of her children from ‘stalking’ her. Eliza is homeless and has been abstinent from methamphetamine (Ice) for five months.
She was referred for support to remain abstinent from ice and psycho-education around more appropriate way to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. Eliza has prescription medication for anxiety and depression. It is not known if she is taking the medication as prescribed.
At present Eliza is in a women and children’s refuge and the case worker from this this service made the referral at Eliza’s request.
When Eliza was contacted to confirm the referral she agreed to proceed with the programme. A meeting time and date was agreed and Eliza requested the meeting take place outdoors as she has a few of enclosed places.
All clients receive a reminder text message (SMS) confirming time, date and venue of the scheduled meeting and requesting contact if they are unable to attend. Eliza confirmed she would attend.
However, she did not attend the meeting and her mobile phone was switched off when the counsellor tried to contact her. A short SMS was sent inviting Eliza to contact the service if she wanted to reschedule the missed appointment.
Two days later Eliza rang to say she had forgotten the appointment and agreed to meet the following day at the same time and place.
An SMS reminder was sent the night before the meeting, confirming date, time and place. Eliza did not attend that meeting and her mobile phone was switched off. The counsellor sent an SMS requesting contact.
The counsellor contacted the referrer who advised that Eliza engages with services when she feels she needs support, when things are going well she disengages. This tendency to engage with services on an as needs basis is well known to community service workers. However, it is a strategy that works against the client’s best interests when circumstances change, which they frequently do.
For now the counsellor is waiting for Eliza to make contact.