Walter Kalmaru has experienced what must be every parent’s worst nightmare. Both of his daughters chose to end their lives prematurely. The experience sparked a rage in him, which resulted in the book: “The Great Betrayal – The Story of the Safety Net That Didn’t Exist”.
His youngest daughter Maya was 15 years old when she became ill with anorexia.
– She was the one who was always happy and she sang in the mornings. It went very quickly. At first she hid her eating disorder. We confronted her about it, in a slightly brusque way, we did it brusquely and insensitively. From that moment on, she underwent a dramatic personality change. She became her own anti-persona, he says and continues:
– She became extremely aggressive, with a senseless rage.
Dismissed as “teenage revolt”
They contacted SCÄ (Stockholm’s center for eating disorders) and BUP for help, but felt that Maya’s problems were not taken seriously.
– We tried to explain the dramatic change in personality, but they sat there with their heads tilted and listened. But in their response they saw a revolting teenage girl and two curling parents.
After a year without eating, Maya was terminally ill from malnutrition and she was forcibly admitted to SCÄ. Shortly thereafter, the doctor wanted to send her home during Christmas, despite the protests of Walter Kalmaru and his wife.
– That she should have leave after being inside for a week, we questioned. Still, they let her go home. She came home and two hours later she jumped from the balcony. She miraculously survived.
See the interview in its entirety in the player above
After the suicide attempt, they were convinced that Maya’s problems should be taken more seriously. But that did not happen. Her suicide attempt was not investigated and she was moved to BUP. Whereupon she escaped from the home she was placed in and traveled to New York. There she committed suicide by jumping.
– We had then lived with the anxiety for 4.5 years. So even though it came as a shock, it didn’t come as a total surprise, says Walter Kalmaru.
A year later, the second daughter took her own life
He directs sharp criticism at the care system, which did not take their cries for help more seriously.
– The criticism is about four things: That they do not listen to us, that there are no resources or competence or qualified care.
How did you manage to get through this?
– When it comes to your child’s life, you do anything. But it was horrible.
A year later, seven years ago, their second daughter Salme took her own life. That after meeting a destructive boyfriend.
– Our lives have been mutilated and it has been a walk in the dark.
The minister on the criticism: This is how the government wants to prevent suicide among young people
The minister responds to the criticism
In Nyhetsmorgon, Minister of Social Affairs Jakob Forssmed (KD) is a guest and responds to the criticism of healthcare.
– There needs to be a long series of changes, access needs to increase. Many feel that they are being pushed around. And we need to develop eating disorder care, he says and continues:
– We need to draw up national guidelines.
You can turn here if you feel unwell
If you need urgent help: Call 112
Mind Suicide Line: 90101 – chat.mind.se
Fellow on duty: 08-702 16 80
The parent line 020-85 20 00
BRIS (for children and young people): 116 111
Healthcare advice: 1177
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