health issues

All posts in the health issues category

NO

Published June 5, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

#no2bullying #no2homophobia #no2suicide

On the news of another teen suicide due to homophobic bullying, it seems appropriate to make some comments. In clarifying, it is not clear whether the teen involved identified or not and no assumptions or implications are being made here. This is about our business in enabling kids to be who they are, unlike our detractors wanting to indoctrinate them through cohesion in conforming to some dated concept of gender identity.  We know the issues for the Rainbow Nation our susceptibility to bullying, mental health issues, substance misuse, and suicide.

Kids (25 & under), it matters not how they identify LGBQ, TT, I, SSA or Str8, that is not our business keeping them safe is our business. The point here is that all kids experience homophobic bullying no matter their gender identity and/or sexual ordination . This situation exists because of the narrow conceptualisation of gender or more precisely privileged masculinity as the default, which enforces compliance to  a specific set of social norms through bullying.

We know this from our individual and collective stories, this abuse in all its forms (i.e. physical, psychological and social) and the lingering deep emotional pain of rejection. Our expertise lies in the lived experience of bullying because of who we are young people seem more vulnerable to this violence. At a time in life full of discovery, confusion and contradiction, they face the excoriating pressure to conform or suffer social sanctions  and possible marginalisation.  In this time, some feel so isolated and disempowered they choose to act on their thoughts out of desperation resulting in their suicide.

This situation is not acceptable if we stand-by and let another young person bullied because of whom they are and is murdered because of the dysfunctional nature of gender. At some time as a society we need to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough what do we value more an insipid idealized masculinity or our children. As a community, the Rainbow Nation has a greater stake here in addressing bullying, homophobia and suicide equally, because they represent our oppression, persecution and marginalisation. As individuals, we have a duty to make this a better place than when we arrived, to stand up against injustice, be a good neighbour and keep people safe.

Please if you are, experiencing suicidal thoughts or feel emotionally unwell follow this link  or call Lifeline on 131114 (in Aus).

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LGBT suicidality

Published May 10, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Suicide and Suicide Risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Popula tions: Review and Recommendations Article (HTML) “Journal of Homosexuality” Jan 2011

When I first saw this article, I thought something new that somebody has realised that the LGBT communities face a higher risk from suicide. The acknowledgement by this panel of academics of how social factors like stigma and discrimination contribute to suicidality or suicidal behaviours of people who identify seems refreshing. In so much as it validates our experiences that these factors detract from our individual and community wellness.

Such as

  • Rejection or abuse by family members or peers
  • Bullying and harassment
  • denunciation from religious communities
  • individual discrimination
  • Discriminatory laws and public policies have a profound negative impact

Their Recommendations include

  • LGBT organizations to lead efforts to encourage early identification of mental health issues
  • Push for the development and testing of a wider range of culturally appropriate mental health treatments and suicide prevention initiatives.
  • Revision of diagnoses pertaining to transgender people in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (due out in 2013) to affirm that gender identity, expression and behavior that differ from birth sex is not indicative of a mental disorder.
  • Improving information about LGBT people by measuring  sexual orientation and gender identity in all national health surveys in which respondents’ privacy can be adequately protected, and encouraging researchers to include such measures in general population studies related to suicide and mental health.

Criticism

Social factors trigger LGBT suicidality these recommendations do not seek to address the issue but at some level manage the symptom.  The symptom being suicidality the issue here is stigma and discrimination experienced by people who identify as LGBT and their communities. It is not a pathological process but a social issue requiring a political intervention not a clinical one. While the later may assist the individual in developing personal resilience, it is a bandaid measurer. A political side step, which focuses on the victim rather than critically responding to the underlying issue

Health clinic a matter of dollars, kids and community reponsibility

Published August 11, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

Hidden Voices the manipulation of healthcare

The programme Hidden Voices had little to do with articulating the experiences across communities of people living with mental illness. It seems the voice of  Mackay Division of General practice voice was obviously not that hidden. Today,  YIRS closed its free (Medicare bulkbilled) health clinic, staffed by local general practitioners, members of the aforementioned organisation.

The question here is

  • How do politics, power relationships and ideologies seek to shape the healthcare system?
  • What is the role of professional/industrial organisations and lobby groups influence policy and service provision?

Hidden Voices, exemplified one mode of political manipulation through the use of the media and the self-serving political agenda of some. Here with the closure of this clinic are the medical fraternity trying to apply a further political lever for the capitalist cause. Professionals across the community volunteer including me (10+hrs a week a total of 65hrs this month), is it another example of capitalist imperative trumping community responsibility for some.

What about primary health care?

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Manic Monday

Published August 11, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

I watched a 4Corner’s programme titled Hidden Voices last night, which looked at issues faced by people living with mental disorders in regional Australia in particular around service gaps.  The topic of mental health holds some personal and professional interest, and I found aspects of this programme at some levels misleading.

For example

  • In highlighting the Mackay Division of General practice as somehow the principal provider of quality mental health services in this region seemed questionable or even self-serving on the part of participants.
  • The Division is a an industry lobbyist for General Practitioner & service provider in its own right.
  • In a population of 140, 000, 70% of whom experience some form of mental disorder these stats seem inflated
  • Healthcare in Australia has a tradition of private & public provision, with extensive public funding of both equally.
  • This programme sort to further a false dichotomy around the difference in the  quality of services between public and private providers
  • When professionals often work in both sectors simultaneous for multiple organisations, does this mean their quality of service differs depending on who pays.

It was simply a polished example of squeaky wheel politics in advancing the political agenda of the Division of General Practice during an election year. The programme was heavy on criticism and light on solutions, in seeking it seems to make further demands on public funding of private sector health.

The solution

Mackay Regional Mental Health Network

Self described as a partnership of government, non-government and private mental health service providers, consumers and carers who work in collaboration to improve mental health outcomes for people living with mental illness and their carers across the Mackay region.

This may be the mechanism required to

  • Give political impetus to bring about a change process
  • Build strategic partnerships across whole of community and government
  • Identify and  articulate service gaps
  • develop strategies to address service gaps
  • Advocate for resources

What is stopping them, may be you need to look at who is sitting at the table

Anxiety = Fear = Indecision = Inaction = Stagnation

Published July 11, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

One of my many interests is the management of and recovery from mental illness, especially anxiety disorders , this position is more about my journey. I have experienced social anxiety or the fear of others judging me since the age of 10.What I have discovered is that anxiety affects people in many different ways with pervasive thoughts that promote indecision and lead to inactions and lastly stagnation. This situation becomes problematic when one feels distress because of this disorder seeing life flying by while you are riveted to one spot. Sometimes it is difficult to find hope in the glaring white out of an anxiety episode, which descends upon you like a yoke. However, there is hope sometimes from the stories of others experiences or the reassurance of family or friends that allows you to reality-check these thoughts.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing, which you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Gay-To-Straight Therapy Repudiated By APA

Published August 6, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Gay-To-Straight Therapy Repudiated By Psychologists

During the past two years a clinical research taskforce has complied a report on Conversion therapy, or reparative therapy. At its AGM, the American Psychological Association (APA) adopted the report’s findings and recommendations

Points made in article

  • mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.
  • research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.
  • “Both religious conservatives &  mental health professionals have to educate themselves better,”

Please read the article it provides some balanced commentary & of course the report.

When sharing this News on Twitter, I received comment ‘no shit’ from an associate, what this highlights is an animosity in the community to this practice. However, in adopting this position the APA seemingly gives qualified support to a widely held view that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice but an integrated aspect of the individual’s identity. However do not be mistaken the language used points more towards a centralist position.  This report states in general terms that there is no verifiable evidence existing that indicates reparative therapy achieves any change in an individual’s sexual orientation, as is the stated goal. If anything, those who undergo this process may experience significant psychological trauma. The APA uses a conciliatory tone, in seeking to state its hopes this report will calm “the polarized debate” between those who believe in the possibility of changing sexual orientation and the many that reject that opinion.  Rather than coming out and naming, this practice as psychological abuse as its own report indicates the APA seems to be playing politics in taking a ‘non-position’.