mental health issues

All posts in the mental health issues category

Welcome to the back of the bus

Published May 16, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Mental Health –  experience of discrimination & stigma

In my cyber wanderings, I discovered Diagnosed Bipolar? Welcome to the Back of the Bus! this piece seeks to highlight the discrimination and  stigma people with a mental condition may experience in contemporary America.  The title reflects on the discriminatory practices of the past the forced African Americans to sit in the back of public bus services a form of apartheid or race segregation. It provides the reader with some insight on the perceived experiences of stigma by a person with a mental illness. The only disappointing point here is an attempt to argue about degrees of discrimination and the inference that other marginal groups may not experience the level of stigma that people with mental illness may.

My view is that to discriminate against one person is an injustice perpetrated against us all, there is no degree of discrimination that is why marginalised people need to meet the challenge and stand as one. People may experience discrimination based on number of arbitrary demographic divisions, what about the M-F transgender butch lesbian Black Muslim diagnosed with schizophrenia. I realise some may see this as an extreme example but I am hoping people get the message that issues of identity like discrimination are complex. Therefore, the focus here is on educating people to embrace social diversity with an open mind and in a respectful way to gain an understanding of each other in striving for a more just society.

Do people living with bipolar disorder experience stigma and discrimination

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Welfare

Published April 15, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

I am tired or am getting too old to listen to the recycled rhetoric of Neanderthal politicians, from Gillard, Abbott, Cameron and even Obama. They all sound the same espousing the pro-capitalist line in defaming people on low income as a burden on society. Somehow, people on low incomes including those on income support do not enjoy the same social status as others and of course, it is this groups fault. Yes, it smacks of yank individualism, which by default overlooks how the system shapes people’s lives both directly and indirectly. Eventually, what you have is victim blaming and scapegoating, no attempt to address personal or social need just political point scoring.

(ABC)

 Gillard vows welfare shake-up

Wanting to work isn’t always enough

Rhetoric helps votes, not people: welfare groups

Homeless job seekers need ‘alternative approach’

(SMH)

Pretend welfare reform will do nothing for jobless

Never look for solutions only band-aids

Welfare equals social wellbeing not safety net or charity

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

Labor announces Mental Health Policy

Published July 27, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

Upon reflection, the measurers announced sounds great, in acknowledging suicide as a significant mental health issue. The policy outlines a number of suicide prevention measurers underpinned by a primary health care policy framework. However, Labor’s focus on funding for key stakeholders including Lifeline Australia & Beyond Blue seems limited.  The nature of mental illness is complex and demanding, people who suffer chronic conditions readily use up their goodwill with others. Often becoming socially isolated, with family, friends and even professionals rejecting the person because they are so high maintenance in some cases experiencing ongoing suicidal ideation , self harming and suicide attempts. The real issue started with deinstitutionalisation, with a shift in care focus to an undervalued and under resourced community sector. This policy goes somewhat to addressing this issue however it comes down to the quality of front-line services and related resource levels.

How does this policy seek to address these issues?

Links

Lifeline Australia crisis line 13114 (24/7)

Beyond Blue

Mental Illness is not a dirty word

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’.