Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Stigma and ignorance

If you are wondering why Health Minister Tony Abbott was pressured into apologising for his insensitivity to a para suicide, consider this.
"Around one in six Australian men suffer from depression at any given time. From puberty onwards, women are twice as likely to experience depression than men. The experience of male depression is complicated by the fact that men are more likely than women to shy away from medical treatment of any kind. Instead of discussing psychological problems, or seeking appropriate treatment, men may turn to alcohol or drugs when they are depressed or anxious. The statistics for teenage boys and young men are a concern. In the past 30 years, the suicide rate for males aged 15 to 24 years tripled." - beyondblue
Whilst depression is not always present in suicide ideation or completed suicide, it is a contributing factor.
"There is strong evidence that mental health problems are major contributors to suicidal behaviours in people of all ages. Various studies, both in Australia and overseas have shown that more than 90% of people who committed suicide were suffering from some form of mental illness. This was the case across all age groups. Indeed, people with recognised mental illness are 10 times more likely to take their own lives than the general population. It is quite clear that having a mental disorder places a person, whatever their age, at considerably higher risk of suicide than the general population. One of the most common forms of mental illness associated with suicide is depression." -Lifeforce
Jeff Kennett Chairman of beyondblue puts it best:
"beyondblue has been working very hard to destigmatise the illness, and one of the aspects of that is that we try and encourage people to understand that if they present the treatment and get the correct diagnosis, they can return to a very normal life. Mr Abbott's comments were inferring or saying that Mr Brogden could not return to a political life if he so elected to do so."

Image from here


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suki, while Jeff is spot on with his comments about Abbott on the Brogden situation, he will never be a credible spokesman on the subject of depression.
Unless he cops to the damage he did as premier. The beginning of abominable conditions for low income workers came under his watch. Howhard is using his work as a blueprint for industrial relations "reform" right around oz.
This will leave casual workers in Australia in a hopeless situation and much more prone to depression.
If Kennett has changed his spots, I would love to hear him speak of the damage done and proposed.

6:35 pm  
Blogger suki said...

I found myself intrigued that his understanding of this issue was so astute.
I remember him primarily for rejecting the a cap on poker machines because he believed that everyone can be a winner and no one is forcing you to game.
Everyone, except the chronic gamblers of which nationally, in 1999, there were 330,000.

11:16 pm  

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