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    It’s worse than insincere, it’s a national disgrace and tragedy. The stats for the incidence of those people who will suffer a mental illness in their lifetime is quite high – 1 in 4?The unnecessary suffering and anguish of those people suffering a mental illness and their families is heart rending. Whenever there’s a tragedy(usually preventable) of the death of a person suffering an illness of this kind, the media wrings its hands, politicians make appropriate noises, and after a couple of days, everybody moves on – until next time. In the past few weeks, 3 people have been killed by police, probably unnecessarily – these people all sounded as though they were in a mental turmoil of some kind.

    We hear much in the media of how the public’s response to mental illness, and most importantly, to the PEOPLE who are suffering, but very little has changed. This is a rich country. There is enough money to care for the health needs of just over 21 million people. It is a damned disgrace that through neglect, the terrible and unnecessary suffering of fellow humans will just remain – business as usual.

    I listened to Ann Deveson (well known Australian journalist) interviewed several years ago about the life and death of her lovely son Jonathan, who suffered from schizophrenia. I was moved to buy the book, and was overwhelmed by the neglect and trauma family members and of course the sufferers have to go through, in order to get adequate medical help. We, all of us, let these people down on a daily basis. I learned a lot about mental illnesss, and while I believed I was a compassionate person, my eyes and awareness were alerted. I hope I’m now a more understanding and caring person to a lovely bloke who lives nearby, and also suffers from a mental illness.

    In the Illawarra in the past few weeks, nursing staff in the Mental Health field at a local hospital, took action over wanting to be placed on 12 hour shifts. I couldn’t believe that this would even be considered. When their present conditions were explained, I could understand the benefits they’d gain by 12 hours on and 12 hours off, but this is a disgrace. A demanding job like nursing, deserves better conditions than this? For over 30 years now, the monies that used to be spent on keeping people locked up and away from the rest of the community, should have gone to providing excellent mental health care, and community support for people to live with dignity and autonomy. Sadly, governments just ‘pocketed’ the money and spent it on usually frivolous other demands – like more freeways and tunnels etc.

    Perhaps we need people to stand at the next State(s) elections on this issue alone. The public must be told the reality of the suffering of people whose ‘crime’ is, they’re sick. If we treated people with a broken leg with the same cruelty we treat people with a mental illness, it would surely change. I like to think so!
    I applaud all those people who diligently, and while overworked and weary, continue to fight for the plight of those with a mental illness!

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    I think this is a sad state of a lot of Australian politics pushing “phantom policy”. Does anyone actually know what they are doing? (or more importantly, why aren’t people who know what they are doing in politics?)

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    Yes it’s worse than insincere, the fact is that Mental Health is mostly used as a verbal weapon in Australia by people seeking control of somebody else’s assets. The Mental Health Acts & Guardianship Acts are aimed at appointing a new financial manager, not the person’s welfare.

    Every day behind closed doors in Guardianship Tribunals, volunteer Australian carers are being accused of mental illness and financial abuse, the allegations are made in secret by people who have refused to help but who are now seeking financial management of their relative’s assets knowing that the Tribunals do not use rules of evidence nor allow the accused to answer the allegations. The more vile the allegation, the more determined the Guardianship Tribunal is to hide the allegation from the accused, and the more bias the Tribunal becomes against the carer.

    Every day thousands of Australians are chemically restrained to subdue their will and to lower staffing costs for nursing homes and public hospitals; at least in the US they have acknowledged the problem : “In February,, California’s attorney general charged three staff members at a nursing home with using Risperdal and Zyprexa to sedate patients and make them easier to manage. In a separate case in January, Lilly agreed to pay the federal government $1.4 billion to settle charges that it illegally marketed Zyprexa for use by the elderly.”


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