Mental Illness Need Not Be a Death Sentence, Allan Fels Warns

People with a serious mental illness are dying on average 14 to 23 years earlier than other Australians, prompting a push for a ­national focus on delivering longer, healthier, happier lives. National Mental Health Commission chairman Allan Fels said yesterday it was neither acceptable nor inevitable that people with mental illness had poorer physical health and died sooner. Ahead of a speech to the ­National Press Club, Professor Fels said …

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Cultural Identity and Participation In Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children

The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health has reported on the importance of cultural identity and cultural participation as key protective factors essential to the development of strong and resilient Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. International research shows that cultural programs conducted with Aboriginal young people has led to improved self-esteem, school attendance, school completion rates, reading skills and academic performance. It was these key pieces of research …

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CASPER – Psychosocial Interventions for Older Adults

The University of York’s Kate Bosanquet provides a closer look at the CASPER Trial in collaborative care for depression in older adults. Why? There is currently very little in the way of psychological treatment offered for older adults. Some NHS services are leading the way in this, with real progress being made towards improving access to psychological therapies; however, there is a clear disparity across the UK when it comes …

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Parenting With a Mental Illness

When you meet 34-year-old mother-of-two Narelle* for the first time, you’re not actually meeting her, but her ‘representative’ as she tells it. “She’s the one who laughs and smiles a lot and says all of the right things so that people walk away thinking what a capable and loving mother she is,” Narelle admits. “It’s not so bad when I only have to endure short interactions, but it makes things …

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Aboriginal Mental Health Workers in Rural NSW

Australia’s rural community mental health (CMH) services face serious workforce shortages. Research specifically investigating factors impacting retention of rural-based CMH health professionals is scarce. This study (part of a larger rural nursing and allied health workforce retention study) identified factors affecting the job satisfaction of Aboriginal mental health workers (AMHWs) working in CMH services in rural NSW. AMHWs are either trainees or graduates of NSW Health’s Aboriginal Mental Health Worker …

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Harvesting Your Health

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) individuals and communities continue to be a topic of focus in Australia, a nation founded on an identity of immigration. While prevalence of mental illness in these groups mirror those of a white Australian population, those from CALD backgrounds often report higher symptom severity, greater social isolation, a reduction in feelings of community, and are often less likely to be formerly diagnosed. There is a …

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13 Signs of Potential Mental Illness in a Child

Most parents have an instantaneous desire to protect their children. We tend to our children’s needs: If an unexplained rash appears, we see the doctor. If a fever spikes, we see the doctor. If a bone seems injured, we see the doctor. Visible wounds are relatively easy to recognize. It’s different when a child begins having problems at school or with friends, or if he or she becomes uncooperative and has inexplicable outbursts. Such …

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The Transfer of Information During Clinical Handover

The breakdown in the transfer of information during clinical handover is one of the most important contributing factors in serious adverse events and a major preventable cause of patient harm. In Australia, nursing handover practice in mental health settings has largely adopted Australia National Safety and Quality Health Service Standard 6 which outlines 3 categories: governance and leadership for effective clinical handover, clinical handover processes, and patient and carer involvement …

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Journeys of Rural Mental Health Consumers

‘Let me be the driver’ – I have removed the case’ – journeys of rural mental health consumers Reflecting back to the Mantra on Salt Kingscliff conference – its beautiful location and the topics of presentation, discussions and debate – further reinforces and builds on my thoughts of consumers being the driver of their own care. A number of presentations at the conference followed this theme and as we move …

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Calls To Review Antipsychotic Use In Kids

An expert in child psychiatry says no child under the age of six should be prescribed an antipsychotic and would like to see a review of these medications. There are concerns antipsychotic drugs are being overprescribed to children purely as a way of managing problem behaviour, leading to calls for a review of prescription rates in Australia. Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry David Coghill, an honorary fellow at the …

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