Mental health through COVID-19: Linking crisis with lasting reform

Mental health has never been more central in Australia’s national conversation than it is in 2020. There is an urgent concern that the social isolation, economic pressures and health anxieties brought about by COVID-19 will take a heavy toll on the already-fragile mental health of many Australians. The COVID-19 crisis has followed directly on the heels of Australia’s most destructive bushfire season ever, when thousands of homes were lost and a state of emergency lasted for weeks on end. But even before these...

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Veteran suicide inquiry will be ‘bigger and better’ than a royal commission, PM says

Army personal seen during a Remembrance Day Service in Martin Place, Sydney, Monday, November 11, 2019. Source: AAP A permanent independent commissioner into veteran suicides will be appointed to investigate deaths and make recommendations on mental health and wellbeing. A permanent independent commissioner has been appointed to investigate veteran suicide. The new National Commissioner for Defence and Suicide Prevention will reportedly have the powers of a royal commission to probe the deaths of more than...

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To improve firefighters’ mental health, we can’t wait for them to reach out – we need to ‘reach in’

Firefighters in Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Source: AAP Emergency service workers already have poorer mental health than the rest of us. In the wake of this bushfire crisis, we need to make the well-being of our first responders a top priority. Many firefighters will by now be exhausted, having been on the front line of Australia’s bushfire crisis for weeks or months. This bushfire season has been unrelenting, and the hottest months of summer may still lie ahead. In part, the toll is physical....

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Reducing suicide with empathic technology

(because sometimes asking RUOK isn’t appropriate, wanted or needed) Mental health is in crisis in Australia. According to Lifeline, suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44. This equates to more than eight deaths by suicide in Australia each day, and for every death by suicide, it’s estimated that as many as 30 people attempt to end their lives. That’s a staggering 65,300 suicide attempts each year. I know this number well because I was seconds away from stepping...

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