All posts tagged health

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.


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

The Debate: sustainability verse development

Published August 14, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

Dick Smith’s Population Puzzle

Dick in his own uniquely Australian way produced this documentary while a little heavy on nationalism raised a number of questions around the population debate. The debate seemingly avoided by politicians of all shades was already happening in a strange and abstract way for example around infrastructure, immigration, climate change, aging population and economic development. Then just to confuse us further a number of furphies   pop up around racism, if you speak about population then there is some correlation to racism. This debate like all complex questions attracts a large number of knuckleheads with a litany of simplistic analyses and commentary note finger pointing at Hanson & One Nation if they are still around.

The debate BIG Australia (36 Million -2020) verse a sustainable Australia (?), obviously the truth is located somewhere between the two. What attracts me to the sustainable Australia position is simply that it needs to be a strategic approach to address the needs of our country (environmentally, socially and economically). The only problem I see is capitalist greed that equates economic development +even increasing population + broader tax base + increased profit margins + infinite = positive social outcomes. How realistic is this equation do the numbers add up, nothing grows for ever there is a finite value attributable to everything, do keep on consuming until Western civilisation crashes and the whole biosphere implodes. One point that does stand out is Smith a self-titled capitalist naming capitalism as the major reason for this issue in naming the sacred cow as an unsustainable burdensome beast.

Other issues

Homophobia – a number of tweets made disparaging comments around same-sex attraction – disappointing – heterosexuals still  do not understand same-sex people live in a family, some parent children and live very ordinary lives – they may get us mixed up with Str8 tea room princesses

The Agenda: It is time Australia has a serious policy debate about issues that affect its future.

  • Environmental stewardship – strategic management of a  finite resource
  • Sustainability
  • Comprehensive primary healthcare – beyond hospitals
  • Infrastructure
  • Civil society – social justice – poverty – housing – employment – training – education – relationships ,
  • Economic development  beyond capitalism towards sustainability – focus on developing  Human capital – social capital

It is time for capitalism to start paying its due

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

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’.

Our galah of the week:AMA president Dr Andrew Pesce says gay people should not have IVF

Published August 5, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

AMA head Dr Andrew Pesce in IVF row | Herald Sun

by Eleni Hale August 02, 2009 12:00am

The new AMA (Australian Medical Association) President Dr Andrew Pesce decided to share his informed views on In vitro fertilisation treatment (IVF).

His view

“Fertility treatment is there to treat diseases that cause infertility, it shouldn’t be there as a lifestyle choice,”

My view

The good doctor just stuck both feet in his mother, IVF may be useful in treating infertility however, where does the lifestyle choice tag factor into this equation.The view expressed by the good doctor smacks of 1950’s patriarchy,  although I may be wrong? I have seen too many child safety cases to say that having a child is some universal right it is not. Although, I do admire women who commit themselves to undergoing this treatment because of the impact on every dimension of their being.

He went on and qualified his position

His view

“For example, single women (who choose IVF) don’t have a disease, they just don’t have a partner. Same-sex couples, they don’t have disease but they are using an option that gets around the natural order of things.”

My view

Who says it was a prerequisite for the woman to be infertile or “have a disease”?  Just in clarifying single women cannot receive treatment because they do not have a partner and same-sex couples cannot receive treatment because it is something about getting around the “natural order of things”. Who determined this natural order and what is it precisely.

The inference taken here is that

  • IVF , does not involve using a med8ical 0proceedure to get around the arbitrary acts of biology
  • eligibility the key criteria being applied here is that women can only have treatment if they have a man as a partner?
  • A Single woman and/or a woman who identifies as a Lesbian do not experience fertility issues

In conclusion, it is not only the Law that is an Ass but some in the medical profession also share this distinction.

So, you’ve had a gay fantasy

Published July 15, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Let us just think about whether you have ever been attracted to a member of your own sex. Be brave nobody has to know about the details, the only thing been asked is for you to be honest with yourself. Have you fantasised about having a sexual adventure with someone of your own sex. It would not be as if you are the first person to do so, in fact some may argue it is health to do so. Personally, I agree, however do not get hooked up on guilt or fear that it is somehow abnormal to have these feelings and in some cases act on them. It would be unhealthy not to, if you act to repress these feelings it can lead to disaster. Alternately sometimes, we do have to play it safe in real life, but that does not mean you need to deny your personal fantasises.

Happy Queen’s Birthday

Published June 8, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

It is the official celebration of HRM EIIR birthday in Australia. However, the highlight is now the honours list a public recognition of those Australians who have made a significant contribution to our country.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List

I have complied The Pink List of people for services towards a better Australia

Dennis Altman – academic, commentator, social policy

Member of the Order of Australia

For service to education as an academic, social and political commentator, and to the community through raising awareness of human rights issues and as a contributor to the development of HIV/AIDS policy

Joseph (Joe) Hasham – actor, writer, producer

Medal of the Order of Australia

For service to performing arts through The Actors Studio, Malaysia, and as an actor, writer, producer

Played the first gay character in an ongoing Australian TV role in 1970s soap Number 96

John-Michael Howson – journalist, performer

Medal of the Order of Australia

For service to the entertainment industry as a writer and performer

Played Clown on Adventure Island a 1970’s Children’s show strangely from memory he always carried a handbag

Vilma Ward – activist community worker

Medal of the Order of Australia

For service to the community of Brisbane

“I was never going to be told what to do by anyone”.

Jonathon Welch – performer, coach, community worker

Member of the Order of Australia

For service to the arts as an operatic performer and vocal coach, and to the community as the founder and musical director of the Choir of Hard Knocks

“when people love their work and are passionate about it “it never really feels like work”.

Honorary Pinkie

Dr Peter Bastable – emergency medicine

Medal of the Order of Australia

For service to the development and delivery of emergency medicine in the Mackay region.

Bil Browning: Indiana removes gay white men from HIV/AIDS funding priorities

Published June 2, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Bil Browning: Indiana removes gay white men from HIV/AIDS funding priorities

This example of public health funding has always been a concern of mine. While I realise AIDS is a concern for the whole community and in particular all men who have sex with other men and their partners/spouses. The upshot was the Gay community took ownership of it and pushed government for funding which is not a bad thing. However, as in this particular case public health priorities change and in these cases funding shifts with the focus. I do not believe it is an issue of discrimination even if it seems so towards any particular group it is s8imply the nature of social policy.