Girls with Autism Flying Under the Radar but New Guidelines Could Help Doctors with Diagnosis

Emma Taylor spent her whole life believing that something was wrong with her. “I’ve always been called weird or a little bit strange. One of the regulars at work calls me Fruit Loop. It was just something I was used to,” the 27-year-old said. But when her six-year-old daughter Felicity was recently diagnosed with autism, Emma came to a startling realisation. “I was reading through her autism checklist, and I …

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Out Doors Inc. – A Mentally Healthy and Productive Workplace

Founded in 1987, Out Doors Inc. is a community managed mental health organisation. Our primary focus is to use the medium of outdoor adventure with an emphasis on choice, challenge and risk taking to support those living with poor mental health. In 2006 following a turbulent period, leaders adopted an innovative approach to managing the organisation: • Adopt team development of culture; document, with ongoing review • Align systems, policies …

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Emeritus Professor Paul Worley Named Australia’s First National Rural Health Commissioner

The development of pathways for rural doctors is the top priority for Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner. Federal Assistant Health Minister Dr David Gillespie announced Emeritus Professor Paul Worley’s appointment as National Rural Health Commissioner at the Rural Medicine Australia Conference on October 21. Professor Worley’s first priority will be to develop National Rural Generalist Pathways to provide training, recognition and appropriate remuneration for the complex demands on doctors working outside major cities. …

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Livewire, Starlight’s Adolescent Program Trialled at Royal Children’s Hospital

Since 1988, the Starlight Children’s Foundation (Starlight) has been delivering programs in partnership with health professionals to support children, young people and their families who are living with a serious illness or health condition. Starlight is the broadest reaching children’s charity in Australia, supporting children and teenagers with all types of serious illness, including mental health conditions. Young people represent over 20% of admissions at some paediatric hospitals and typically …

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Compulsory Mental Health Treatment: Know Your Rights, Have Your Say

In Victoria, 10,000 people a year are placed on compulsory mental health treatment orders.  For many, this can feel like their self-determination is lost and their voice is not heard.   In August 2015, Independent Mental Health Advocacy, (IMHA) was established to provide a free independent advocacy and information service to people receiving compulsory mental health treatment in Victoria. IMHA was designed to assist people to retain a degree of choice …

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Therapy Has Different Forms Than Chatting in a Room

Psychologist Maz Miller used to prescribe fresh air and exercise to her patients all the time, until one day she got tired of talking about it. Frustrated with the limitations of her office, she got up mid-session and took her client out for a walk. “I could tell there was something different,” she says. “The client seemed to open up a lot more; the whole session was flowing.” The results …

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How People With Mental Illness Can Weather-Proof Finances for Bumpy Spending Patterns

Melbourne street artist Akemi Ito* once maxed out a credit card in a single day buying $3500 of homewares online. “Back then I could get credit cards,” he says of the time in the late 1990s. “Now my credit history is so appalling I can’t get credit cards.” As someone living with bipolar, the 39 year-old’s spending spree arose out of a manic episode. More recently, his manic episodes have led …

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How Better Designed Therapy Spaces Could Improve Mental Health Treatment

The buildings we inhabit can change the way we feel. That’s particularly relevant when designing mental health spaces, and yet there are no real guidelines that cover this field. With one in five Australians experiencing a mental illness in any year, a researcher at the Melbourne School of Design says it’s worth considering how to design the spaces in which therapy takes place. Stephanie Liddicoat is nearing the completion of her …

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Medical Staff Mental Illness: Getting Help With No Fear

An expert advisory committee will examine how regulatory bodies can seek to protect patient safety without discouraging health practitioners from taking steps to ensure they are mentally fit to practice. At its latest meeting, the Council of Australian Governments Health Council discussed moves by several states to reconsider the mandatory nature of the notifications process that covers practitioners who may have an impairment. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency requires …

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An Outline of Recovery Based, Psychology Focussed Therapeutic Groups in an Inpatient Mental Health Unit

The Adult Mental Health Unit (AMHU) at The Canberra Hospital is an acute inpatient unit that provides treatment for people with severe mental health problems. The 37 bed unit which opened in 2012 is one of the most modern of its kind in Australia. At AMHU treatment consists of a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial interventions based upon a recovery orientated framework that is designed to empower people and instil …

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