News Archive 2014
December 15, 2014
NSW Mental Health Commission: major strategic plan for mental health released
Fay Jackson, Deputy Commissioner of NSW MHC, Premier Mike Baird,
Mental Health Minister Jai Rowell, and Health Minister Jillian Skinner
today launched a radical, all-of-government approach. $115 million extra
funding over the next three years, will target early intervention for
children and families, but also aim to get people with chronic mental
illnesses back into the community. more...
December 12, 2014
How to promote better mental health at your workplace...by a lawyer who picks up the pieces
... most people who came to see me for legal advice about problems
they were dealing with at work were suffering some degree of trauma. Or
anxiety. Or depression. Sometimes worse. more...
Dec. 11, 2014
Mental Illness is the wrong scapegoat after mass shootings
In the article, “Mental Illness, Mass Shootings and the Politics of
American Firearms,” Vanderbilt Uni researchers, Metzl and MacLeish
analyzed the past 40 yrs data. Less than 5% were perpetrated by people
diagnosed with MI. Those with MI were 60-120% more likely than the
average person to be victims of violent crime. more...
December 10, 2014
Medical News Today
Could laughing gas be used to treat severe depression?
Washington University School of Medicine reported the findings of a
small study into the effects of laughing gas on severe,
treatment-resistant depression in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
Two-thirds of patients reported improved symptoms after treatment with
laughing gas in a survey that examined items like sadness, feelings of
guilt, suicidal thoughts, anxiety and insomnia. more...
November 18, 2014
Psychologists say police not being monitored for work-related mental health issues
Police who can no longer cope with trauma and stress should have
access to high status desk jobs to combat mental illness and prevent
suicides, psychologists say. more...
September 16, 2014
A Blood Test for Depression? Scientists Say It’s Possible
Scientists led by Eva Redei at Northwestern Medicine say it may be
possible to test for depression in the blood - and figure out which
patients will benefit most from behavior-based therapy as a treatment.
Study focussed on 9 markers, 3 of which they found could be predisposing
Australia's response to first WHO World Suicide Report
which follows the adoption of the Mental Health Action Plan which
commits all 194 member states to reducing their suicide rates by 10% by
more... Download response PDF
Sept 15, 2014
Schizophrenia not a single disease but multiple genetically distinct disorders
After analyzing genetic influences on more than 4,000 people with
schizophrenia, Washington University School of Medicine research team
has identified distinct gene clusters that contribute to eight different
classes of schizophrenia. more...
September 14, 2014
Photo by Tamara Volinski
Mental illness and suicide claims hitting superannuation funds and insurers
Superannuation funds and life insurers are being urged to focus on
early intervention to curb the mounting cost of claims caused by mental
illness, a trend that has caused insurance premiums within super to
16 September, 2014
Smoking and Schizophrenia Linked by Alterations in Brain Nicotine Signals
Study, published in Biological Psychiatry found that the level of
nicotine receptors in the brain was lower in schizophrenia patients more...
Sep 11, 2014
Skaggs School of Pharmacy
Stem cell research finds neurochemical imbalance in schizophrenia
Neurons from patients with schizophrenia secrete higher amounts of 3
neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine) which are
broadly implicated in a range of psychiatric disorders. Applications for
future treatments include being able to evaluate the severity of the
disease, identify different sub-types and pre-screen patients for drugs
most likely to help them. It also offers a way to test the efficacy of
new drugs. more...
September 10, 2014
BMJ study: Benzodiazepines increase Alzheimer's risk
French and Canadian research published in the medical journal, BMJ,
on Wednesday found taking benzodiazepines long-term – popular drugs to
treat anxiety and insomnia – is associated with an increased risk of
Alzheimer's disease. more...
Sep 08, 2014
Youth worried about uni fees, training and mental health services
Our youth are most worried about uni fees, trades &
apprenticeship training and getting access to mental health services,
says Australia’s UN youth ambassador Laura John, who will take these
issues to New York this month as part of the Australian Mission to the
UN General Assembly. more...
Sep 7, 2014
Mental health experts claim a rise in suicides following a high profile death
Tasmania's Mental Health Council is disturbed by evidence of a spike
in suicides following media coverage of a teenager's death last year. more...
3 September 2014
by Ian Cummins
Crisis in mental health services sees vulnerable children taken into police custody
Too many children are not being cared for adequately after being
found mentally disturbed in a public place ... Howard League for Penal
Reform suggests at least 1 in 10 (over 50% girls, and many young teens)
are taken into police cells or adult hospital wards. more...
Sep 1, 2014
Mental health lessons cut illness, stigma
Mental health lessons for secondary school students can reduce stigma
and have a potentially lifelong effect, a study has found. "In
particular, we found students in the HeadStrong program changed their
attitude with regards to seeing people with mental illness as dangerous
and unpredictable," lead author Yael Perry said. more...
August 28, 2014
by Bruce McDougall
Picture: Jeff Death
Mental health days are for morons, says Calare Public School principal Christian Cundy
The primary school principal outraged parents and disability groups
by referring to students who have mental problems or have been bullied
as “morons”, “nut cases” and “village idiots” ... more...
25 Aug 2014
Picture: Getty Images
Bosses run mental health legal minefield
Employers are at increasing risk of costly legal action if they fail
to address mental health issues in the workplace properly. ...
Discrimination claims if jobs or promotions refused, OCHS laws if
failing to provide a safe workplace, privacy laws if MH is part of
workplace gossip. more...
22 Aug 2014
Pomegranate Compound Could Delay Alzheimer’s
Chemical compound in pomegranate called
punicalagin could delay Alzheimer’s by treating inflammation in the
brain, study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research says. more...
23 Aug 2014
Mental illness in sport: Tackling the black dog on the field
Sports Medicine Australia NSW State Conference panel on depression in
elite athletes calls for greater psychological support for athletes. more...
21 Aug 2014
Michael Gordon, Sarah Whyte
Asylum staff hit by mental health crisis
The mental health crisis inside Christmas Island detention centre is now taking its toll on asylum seeker guards. more...
21 Aug 2014
by Steve Lillebuen
Photo: Tanya Lake
No-name policy in courts on MH grounds sparks victim concerns
Proposed law change designed to protect the mentally ill could have shielded notorious killers from public scrutiny. more...
21 Aug 2014
by Judith Ireland
photo: Andrew Meares
Psychiatrists reject plan for mental health curbs on DSP
The peak body representing Australian psychiatrists has rejected the
proposal that only people with a ''permanent impairment'' should get the
disability support pension, saying the plan fails to understand the
nature of mental illness. more...
18 Aug 2014
Bianca Nogrady ABC
Genes point to immune role in Alzheimer's
A link has been discovered between Alzheimer's disease and changes in several genes associated with inflammation. more...
15 Aug 2014
Robin Williams was in early stages of Parkinson’s
and was sober at the time of his suicide, his wife says. He was
struggling with depression, anxiety and the Parkinson’s diagnosis. more...
SFNSW Board Member Pat Boydell will be greatly missed by us. RIP Pat. Our condolences to her family.
13 Aug 2014
Northern Beaches Mental Health Support Group’s Pat Boydell is remembered for her kindness
The community is mourning respected mental health worker Pat Boydell of Forestville, who died of natural causes on Tuesday. more...
13 Aug 2014
MHA submission to Fed Govt
ABC Radio National interview with Mental Health Australia's CEO Frank Quinlan re the review into the mental health sector. more...
12 Aug 2014
ACOSS call for single welfare payment to cover 'life essentials'
... replacing all working-age payments and pensions. It recommends
that payments for people of working age should be based on 2 components:
a basic income support payment for all recipients and add-ons for extra
needs such as disability, caring, rental assistance and single
11 Aug 2014
Psychiatrist fights cardiometabolic disease in schizophrenia patients
Neglect is a part of the problem, Dr Lambert says. “Psychiatrists
don’t feel it’s their job to look after physical health, although it is.
And many specialists won’t touch mentally ill patients.” Dr Tim
Lambert is a research leader on a multidisciplinary University of Sydney
project set up to tackle obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. more...
11 Aug 2014
The World Today
Study finds way around schizophrenia drug side-effects
Monash researchers say schizophrenia drugs which dim D2 Receptor versus blocking effective, with less side-effects. more...
11 Aug 2014
Urgent need to keep mental health in mind
Australians will struggle to access the same quality healthcare that
we all take for granted when we develop physical health problems. Less
than half of those with a need for mental healthcare access it, and if
they do it is typically too little, too late and of variable quality. more...
10 Aug 2014
Consequences of Mental Illness That Nobody Talks About
Psychotic disorders are frequently accompanied by significant and
disabling cognitive losses. These cognitive difficulties can persist
even when other symptoms (delusions, hallucinations) are well controlled
by anti-psychotic medications. more...
8 Aug 2014
1 in 3 mental health workers attacked
in Victoria in the last 12 mths. Joint study between Health and
Community Services Union and University of Melbourne. Mental health
workers 3x more likely to be physically attacked than police officers. more...
7 Aug 2014
Promising new approach helps curb early schizophrenia in teens, young adults
USA early intervention program involves an intensive 2 yr course of
socialization, family therapy, job and school assistance, and, in some
cases, antipsychotic medication. 34% hopitalization rate reduction for
first psychotic episodes. more...
August 1, 2014
by Susan Bell
Using virtual reality to treat PTSD
Using software developed at USC, 2 US ex-military psychologists are
using virtual reality to treat PTSD and other anxiety disorders, drawing
on their wartime experiences to help veterans. more...
July 29, 2014
by Dr Francis Collins
Autism Architecture: Unrolling the Genetic Blueprint
NIH-funded researchers studied 500,000 genetic variants from 3,046 Swedes. Found 50-60% autism risk is genetic. more...
27 July, 2014
2014-15 budget allocates $18.1M
over 4 years to establish and operate a National Centre for
Excellence in Youth Mental Health. You can keep track of the progress
of the promise here...
24 Jul 2014
Cultural differences in "hearing voices"
Americans mostly hear violent voices, African & Indian mostly
hear friendly voices. A new study suggests that schizophrenic people in
more collectivist societies sometimes think their auditory
hallucinations are helpful. more...
‘Suicide is not a selfish act’ say survivors
A study of Australians who have attempted suicide found many made the
attempt feeling they were ‘a burden’ and believed family and friends
would be ‘better off’ without them. A common feeling at that time was of
hopelessness and that their ‘mental pain’ would never end. Media Release...
22 July 2014
International team sheds new light on biology underlying schizophrenia
Genes, pathways identified could inform new approaches to
treatment. Largest genomic study published on any psychiatric disorder
to date, enabling patterns to be seen. Over 80,000 genetic samples
from schizophrenia patients and healthy volunteers, found 108 specific
locations in the human genome associated with risk for schizophrenia.
83 had not previously been linked. more...
July 21, 2014
by Carl Zimmer & Benedict Carey
$650 Million Donation for Psychiatric Research
The donation was to Broad Institute, who recently published research
identifying 83 new genome locii linked to schizophrenia. After Ted
Stanley's son was successfully treated for bipolar, he established a
foundation to support mental illness research. more...
Same topic from Business Insider. more...
22 July 2014
You are what you eat
how diet affects mental well-being. Depression and Dementia are greatly affected by diet. more...
15 July 2014
Coroner finds Alana Goldsmith killed herself while suffering anorexia nervosa
Christine Morgan, from the Butterfly Foundation, said "It has the
highest fatality rate of mental illness and we cannot ignore that. A
person with anorexia nervosa was 32 times more likely to take their own
life than someone who does not have the illness." more...
14 July 2014
Cultural healing for indigenous mental health
Mental Health Worker says treating an indigenous person with mental
illness may also entail spiritual initiatives like cultural healing, a
smoking ceremony or community mediation. more...
8 July 2014
Brains, genes and chemical imbalances – how explanations of mental illness affect stigma
The public now endorses biological and genetic explanations for
mental health problems much more than previously. Does this increase or
decrease stigma? more...
July 11, 2014
Wagga's mental health building awarded top gong
in the NSW section of the Australian Institute of Building awards.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District's director of mental health and drug
and alcohol, Robyn Manzie, said the accolades proved Wagga had top notch
facilities, that the quality of the centre - which featured courtyards,
a gym and spaces to relax reflected changing attitudes towards mental
8 July 2014
Mayor Bill Taylor officially opens Bega Personal Helpers and Mentors
with Schizophrenia Fellowship state manager of Recovery Services Jill
Steverson and PHaMS team leader Gwen Perman. The program provides an
outreach service covering Bega Valley and Bombala Shires supporting
people with mental illness over the age of 16 to improve their quality
of life. more...
July 3, 2014
Maternal inflammatory marker linked to children’s schizophrenia risk
Children of women with elevated levels of inflammatory marker
C-reactive protein (CRP) during pregnancy have an increased risk of
developing schizophrenia, research suggests. more...
2 Jul 2014
Kate Stephens, Virginia Tapp
Mental health workshops not working in drought communities
...workshops aren't practical for farmers. Mental health care
providers are reassessing the way they deliver support to drought
affected communities. Qld Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg, says
one-on-one mental health support would be ideal. "We're looking at
opportunities where we might be able to support people in the privacy of
their own home and encourage them to get help" more...
25 Jun 2014
Mental Health Council calls for complete overhaul of mental health system
A review of the way mental health services are delivered in Australia
has been commissioned by the Abbott Government and is due to report in
Nov. The aim is to establish whether the existing system delivers the
support the mentally ill and their families need. MHCA's submission
says services are duplicated and there's little monitoring and oversight
of the effectiveness of programs. more...
2 Jul 2014
Asylum seekers' mental health linked to length of detention
Immigration Dept & the gvt's medical provider for asylum seekers
have acknowledged that asylum seekers' mental health declines the longer
they are kept in detention. Aust Human Rights Commission's inquiry
into children in immigration detention heard that 128 children in
immigration detention were reported to have harmed themselves
Jan2013-Mar 2014. more...
25 Jun 2014
Genes link schizophrenia and cannabis use
British study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, released
on Tuesday, found the link may be due to common genes and might not be a
causal relationship where cannabis use leads to increased schizophrenia
Pub 22 May 2014
Modif 20 Jun 2014
Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws (DP 81)
The Discussion Paper is the second consultation document in the ALRC's
Inquiry into Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks that deny or
diminish the equal recognition of people with disability before the law,
and their ability to exercise legal capacity. more...
June 15, 2014
Depression in the workplace costing workers and businesses
An alarming number of Australians feel their workplaces are mentally
unhealthy environments, causing staff to take more sick days due to
depression, anxiety and stress, a new survey has found. Job-related
mental health problems cost Australian businesses almost $11 billion a
year in absenteeism, reduced productivity at work and compensation
September 18, 2014
Govt pledges to report back on efforts to improve mental health unit
ACT govt agree to report to Legislative Assembly about measures by ACT Health to improve ACT mental health services. more...
9 Apr 2014
17 Deaths reported in Japan after Xeplion injections
Janssen Pharmaceuticals is advising caution in Japan following the deaths of 17 patients who were given injections of its schizophrenia drug. The causes of the 17 deaths included cardiac infarction, pulmonary embolism and suffocation due to inhalation of vomit.
In many cases the deaths occurred about 40 days after injections of the drug.
The Japanese unit of major drug maker Janssen Pharmaceuticals says 17 people have died after being injected with its drug to treat schizophrenia since it was launched in Japan last November. The company, an affiliate of US-based healthcare giant Johnson and Johnson, advised medical workers in Japan to use the Paliperidone Palmitate medication with great care even though it was not know whether it had caused the deaths. The drug, brand-named Xeplion, is estimated to have been used by 10,700 people since it was released in Japan on November 19, according to a notice posted on the Japanese unit's website and seen Wednesday.
The notice advised doctors to "fully understand that the substance remains in the body for at least four months after being injected" and to stay alert for any side-effects. It also asked them to refrain from using the medicine with other anti-psychotic drugs because the "effectiveness and safety" of such a combined application had not been established.
9 Apr 2014
Laura L. Hayes PH.D, Psychologist
Violence is not a product of mental illness. Violence is a product of anger.
In the wake of a string of horrific mass shootings by people who in many cases had emotional problems, it has become fashionable to blame mental illness for violent crimes. The attribution of violent crime to people diagnosed with mental illness is increasing stigmatization of the mentally ill while virtually no effort is being made to address the much broader cultural problem of anger management.
This broader problem encompasses not just mass murders but violence toward children and spouses, rape, road rage, assault, and violent robberies. We are a culture awash in anger. Uncontrolled anger has become our No. 1 mental health issue.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, the reference book used by mental health professionals to assign diagnoses of mental illness, does very little to address anger. The one relevant diagnosis is intermittent explosive disorder, a disorder of anger management.
Anger disorders are a product of long-term anger mismanagement. Anger management skills are simple techniques that can and should be taught to children and adolescents. We should not wait to teach these skills until verbally or physically violent behavior has become habitual and, often, life-threatening. more...
ABC 17 Mar 2014
Photo: Diane Bain
Mental health blueprint for miners
The Minerals Council says a mental health blueprint provided to mining companies across the Hunter provides practical advice for improving the mental health of their workforce.
21 Mar 2014
Finding Our Way - 10 short films made to unshackle stigma of mental illness faced by migrants
In migrant and refugee communities, many with mental illness are faced with a shame that forces them to retreat rather than seek help
10 short films made for and by migrant communities has been released to coincide with Harmony Day.
From Chinese and Greek to German and Sri Lankan, these short films are made by migrants and refugees for migrants and refugees.
Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) commissioned the Finding Our Way Project to highlight the struggles of multicultural communities, with a focus on youth mental health and suicide prevention.
20 Mar 2014
$14m mental health unit still lies idle
A much-needed $14.2 million health facility which includes 22 new beds for mentally ill patients has sat idle since construction was completed almost seven months ago.
The Community Care Unit at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital was completed last August and Austin Health expected it would be open by November.
Management blamed the delay on a protracted industrial dispute with the Health and Community Services Union over staffing arrangements, and said the facility would open on April 22. more ...
19 Mar 2014
Indigenous mental health report shows legal flaws
Framlingham Aboriginal elder Lenny Clarke has called for the federal government to heed a UN report which found flaws in the treatment of indigenous inmates with mental health issues.
The UN committee’s report late last year recommended the federal government “as a matter of urgency, ends the unwarranted use of prisons for the management of un-convicted persons with disabilities, with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons with disabilities, by establishing legislative, administrative and support frameworks that comply with the Convention”. more ...
13 Mar 2014
New Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Mental Health
will focus on the mental health of Australia’s defence veterans dealing with post traumatic stress and other mental issues.
It will consider high level and strategic issues, looking to identify gaps in available services and innovative approaches to address them. VC recipient Ben Roberts-Smith will serve on the new Council. more ...
Parliamentarians rally for youth mental health
A cross-parliamentary group to raise awareness for youth mental health was launched 25 Feb at Parliament House with the support of almost 40 members of parliament. The Parliamentary Friends of Youth Mental Health is co-chaired by Senator Penny Wright (Australian Greens), Senator Louise Pratt (Labor), Dan Tehan MP (Liberal) and Cathy McGowan MP (Independent). more ...
All NSW Police to receive Mental Health Intervention Training
24 Feb 2014 by Emma Partridge
From Monday, 2 MHiT teams will begin training all NSW police. 90% of frontline officers have never had MH training, despite being called out to suicides, threats of self-harm and violent incidents of so-called ''death by cop''. In 2013, NSW Police responded to 43,830 mental health related incidents. more ...
SFNSW has been part of the MHiT from its conception and inception and we continue to be deeply involved.
11 Feb 2014
Sunflower Centre (Hunter region) has a win
Funding troubles left a dark cloud hanging over the future of this important Hunter mental health centre last year but its relocation to an office in Mayfield today has its manager feeling bright about the future.
4 Feb 2014
Mental illness on screen – a new world of hope..
There are positive indications that filmmakers and producers of TV shows such as United States of Tara and Homeland are exploring the subject matter of mental illness on screen with greater complexity and sensitivity.
Increasingly, filmmakers and TV producers are collaborating with mental health organisations and drawing upon the lived experience of mental illness to create more accurate, authentic depictions.
Hearing Voices Declaration - signed by Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia for MIFA and Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW
14 Jan 2014
Funding cuts for psychiatrists who travel to treat patients in western New South Wales could have fatal consequences, doctors warn. With a drought once again taking hold in much of the region, doctors say they are concerned the demand for psychiatric services may increase at a time when services could be shrinking. more ...
Everyday Hero Phil Dunne
Phil Dunne cycled 340 km from Sydney to Canberra and raised $2,455.36 for SFNSW in memory of Joshua Purvis, his wife's brother.
If you want to help increase that amount, go to Phil's page..
SFNSW congratulates two of our Executive Managers
and one of our service Board Members on the recognition
of their services to Mental Health and the general community
in the 2014 Australia Day Honours List
Sue Sacker OAM Bill Gye OAM Narelle Kennedy AM
Our Acting CEO Sue Sacker was awarded the Order of Australia. Some may not know but Sue has been involved in quite a number of things beyond the Fellowship, and has been active in numerous campaigns over the years. She has been very active! A very deserved recognition for years of commitment.
Bill Gye, General Manager of our Recovery Services, also was awarded the Order of Australia for his work with the Fellowship, Ostara, Clubhouses and other community activities. Another very deserving award.
And to complete the trifecta, Narelle Kennedy who is on the Board of our Sunflower Services Ltd was awarded an AM.
See their citations for more information about why they so richly deserved those awards.
10 Jan 2014
Waterlow deaths prompt mental health shake-up. A coroner has recommended changes to the New South Wales mental health act to make it easier for mentally ill people who are considered dangerous to be detained and treated involuntarily. more...
Our inaugural Wellness Walk to help raise awareness and de-stigmatise mental health was a great
success. Despite the threat of storms, over 600 walkers turned out and we raised over $30,000 for mental health services.
Minister for Mental Health - Kevin Humphries, Mental Health Commissioner - John Feneley, NSW Treasurer - Mike Baird and SFNSW President - Anthony Harris and their families lead off the Walk.
more about the Walk...
Photos on SFNSW Facebook