Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Wellness is a holistic notion

Yesterday on International Women's day women celebrated. As with most hearty celebrations, the day after is rough.

If we assess data from the Women in Australia 2004 report released by Kay Patterson, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women's Issues, the current state of the mental health status of Australian women is of particular concern.

Older Australian women present with the highest rate of anxiety disorders with 16% of women 45-54 years of age reporting Agorophobia, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Social Phobia (page 172).

This data is also disturbing when we look at overall mental health figures for women. Women have higher rates (than men) of mental and behavioural problems (page 171).
These include Bipolar Affective Disorder, Depression, Dysthymia, Hypomania and Mania (page 173).

I wonder how much of a causal link can be drawn between mental health wellness and workforce participation.

With outcomes such as these The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act, introduced into Parliament on 22 September 1999, replacing the Affirmative Action Act 1986 gathers much dust under the Prime Minister and his Minister assisting.

I would advocate for more mental health initiatives starting with the tripling of Community health centre funding. CHS centres could offer stress relief massages, reading and blogging groups and other 'pampering' events.
Workplace counseling options could be expanded to include a monthly 'celebrating achievements' session. Mentoring programs, a real commitment to work-life balance...
"All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
-Arthur Schopenhauer

8 Comments:

Blogger Ron said...

"I wonder how much of a causal link can be drawn between mental health wellness and workforce participation"I could play devil's advocate and say perhaps it's because of workplace participation.

Lung cancer and heart attack rates for women are now equal or close to those for men.

Unfortunately with equality comes all the bad things as well.

2:09 pm  
Blogger suki said...

If it was because of workforce participation wouldn't we see even higher mental health figures in men?
Women consistantly outnumber men in this area except for suicide where they attempt more, but complete less.

4:49 pm  
Blogger Brownie said...

Does The Honourable Minister of Choice think it would be informative to see those stats broken down into Married and Single categories?
re juggling career and family: my daughter-in-law works at large Sydney law firm with in house creche, one of the lawyers went home forgetting her baby was back at the office, possibly because as she left her desk her mind was on what to buy and cook for dinner . . .and she was tired . . and her biorythms were down . . .Lucy Hughes Turnbull probably has a live in housekeeper to help her pull it off, but for some working women, success is a 'battle of priorities' that men are not required to fight.

12:17 am  
Anonymous Philip Gomes said...

Suki, this one is right up your alley. You've just got to write something on Miranda Devine in today's (10/3) SMH.

10:53 am  
Blogger Brownie said...

Thanks for the pointer Philip. I read MD on Mary and I came out of it thinking that being a modern princess is actually a job and maybe Mary sees herself as Personal Assistant to Danish Promotions Manager,and completed all the courses, just as one must for real estate. Lady D Spencer was doing the same (and very well, what a loss for those fools) until Chuck ruined it by flaunting his mistress.

12:31 pm  
Blogger suki said...

I read Miranda Devine (which I usually don't) and frankly, I don't know why editor's give her bandwidth. Is her piece about Schadenfreude?Is she exhorting women to give up on feminism and let our DNA take over?
She comes across as irrelevant and bitter.

Good on the Danish couple. Mary and Frederik are both intelligent adults.
Perhaps we are more enamoured of the true love we see in the interactions between the Crown Prince and our Princess.

Perhaps feminism is resonating in young women and they are now demanding their worth. Marriage remains a legal contract and grrrls are negotiating their value. They are demanding to be treated like a Princess from the position of unconditional, deep, and sincere love that we see between Frederik and Mary.

3:02 pm  
Blogger suki said...

Thanks loyal subject brownie.
I'm actually the Minister for choosing.
Choosing is never done...it is a wonderful never-ending process of foraging and fondling.
"Are you done yet Minister? No. Still choosing..."

As for breaking down the mental health data into single or married (or partnered), yes it would be interesting. I also wonder how much isolation from community or like-minded adults in general is a factor.

I work with stay-at-home-mothers who tell me I am often the only adult they have had a conversation with from week to week.

3:18 pm  
Blogger amy gardner said...

Our obsession with Mary is far more shallow than Ms Divine is claiming. It's like saying our admiration for Nicole Kidman shows that being a divorced single mother and high-paid actor is in our DNA.

I like looking at Mary's clothes, and I don't think I'm alone here... It doesn't mean i want to go and kiss frogs or wear glass slippers.

3:21 pm  

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