Australia

A world-first survey of thousands of Australian doctors and medical students has revealed they are burnt-out, more likely to experience psychological distress and suicidal thoughts than the general community and are drinking too much alcohol.
beyondblue’s National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students found that medical students and young or female doctors are most at risk and identified that significant levels of stigma exist towards people with mental health problems. Some respondents also reported that they were bullied or experienced racism.

beyondblue Chairman The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC said the findings revealed the extent of doctors’ and medical students’ suffering and should act as an immediate rallying call for action.

“We conducted this survey because, given doctors and medical students are under immense pressure and deal regularly with pain and death, we know that the mental health of many of them is poor,” he said.

“This survey builds on our previous work in this area and we hope it also serves as a wake-up call to the Australian medical community that more must be done to tackle things such as over-work and discriminatory attitudes.”

beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO said more must be done not only to help doctors and students, but also patients.

“If doctors do not deal with the mental health issues they are experiencing, it can affect their ability to deliver the best care,” she said.

“We know doctors are distressed and think a lot about suicide, yet this survey indicates they are diagnosed with depression and anxiety at equal or lesser rates than the community.

“Given the high levels of stigma among doctors revealed by this survey, we think doctors are reluctant to admit they have a mental health problem, further highlighting the need for action.

“The survey also shows some doctors experience bullying and racism, which is completely unacceptable. I encourage all medical workplaces to investigate how to create a mentally healthy workplace.

The survey, which was conducted by Roy Morgan and completed by more than 14,000 doctors and medical students, is believed to be the first anywhere in the world to provide a mental health snapshot of such a large proportion of a country’s medical community.

For more information;
Read the full media release
Read the executive summary
Read the final report
Access beyondblue’s online learning modules
Click the link below
 
Some of the major findings


One in five medical students and one in 10 doctors had suicidal thoughts in the past year, compared with one in 45 people in the wider community, according to the report. More than four in 10 students and a quarter of doctors are highly likely to have a minor psychiatric disorder, like mild depression or mild anxiety
3.4% of doctors are experiencing very high psychological distress, much greater than the wider community
Oncologists are clearly the most psychologically distressed specialists while doctors who do not deal with patients (researchers, administrators, etc) think about suicide most often
Male doctors work longer hours (46 per week) and engage in more risky drinking but female doctors are more psychologically distressed and think about suicide more often
Young doctors work longer hours (50 per week on average), are far more psychologically distressed, think about suicide more and are more burnt-out than their older colleagues
Perceived stigma is rife with almost half of respondents thinking doctors are less likely to appoint doctors with a history of depression or anxiety and four in 10 agreeing that many doctors think less of doctors who have experienced depression or anxiety. 4.5% list bullying and 1.7% list racism as a cause of stress for them.

and as reported by The Guardian;

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/09/doctors-depressed

Welcome to the World Mental Health Day website for Australia. With one in five Australians experiencing a mental illness this year, we all have a role to play in mental wellbeing.

You can start by making a Mental Health Promise to yourself, it’s simple, click here.

Why not take a look at what other people are promising themselves, visit our Promise Wall

If you are holding an event this year, to mark National Mental Health Week or World Mental Health Day, then why not publish your event on our map

World Mental Health Day is October 10 and coincides with National Mental Health Week, 6 -12 October 2013.

WISE Stand Up for Mental Health

Image of award-winning Canadian comedian, David Granirer.

WISE Stand Up for Mental Health (WSMH) is a unique stand-up comedy event featuring award-winning Canadian comedian David Granirer. David, an author and counsellor who has depression, has trained a group of Australians with mental illness to develop their own stand-up comedy routine on the highs and lows of living with mental illness.

Australian comedian and WISE Stand Up for Mental Health ambassador Steve Bedwell will make a special appearance. This Australian-first event aims to provide empowerment to the comedians and a fresh perspective on mental illness that will help fight fear and stigma surrounding mental illness.  Link to Deakin Edge Fed Square

WISE Stand Up for Mental Health (WSMH) takes place on Friday 25 October 2013, 6.30pm at Deakin Edge Fed Square in Melbourne.

Get your tickets here.

The WISE Stand Up for Mental Health event is the culmination of the 12-week WISE Stand Up for Mental Health comedy school, run by acclaimed Canadian comedian David Granirer, which empowers people with a mental illness to share their experiences through stand-up comedy and help end the stigma and fear that often surrounds mental illness in Australia.

WSMH is part of WISE Employment’s three-year Empowermental campaign to help reduce the stigma of employing people who have a mental illness. 

Get your tickets to WISE Stand Up for Mental Health, available at Ticketmaster now.

Please email standup (at) wiseemployment.com.au or contact Eleanor Lonergan on 03 8329 8773 if you have any questions or feedback about WISE Stand Up for Mental Health.

The Mental Health Coalition of South Australia is celebrating Mental Health Week 2013 with numerous events! Click the link provided to see their events calendar.



NCDFREE is a global social movement against Non-Communicable Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lung disease and mental illness. www.ncdfree.org

NCDFREE is launching a global campaign first at Harvard University on 23 September, then in Melbourne with the University of Melbourne on October 5 as part of the Festival of Ideas.

At these events, NCDFREE will debut a series of crowd-funded, advocacy short-films, shot on location in Mongolia and Ghana this year.

The Melbourne launch will also feature Q&A, talks and activities with the speakers, plus a whole buffet of local artists, comedians, musical acts and a crowdsourced photography exhibition, run by our friends at REACH.

Reserve your ticket here - https://www.eventbrite.com.au/event/8122060301

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Talks from our inspiring change-makers will include:

"The economics of investing in NCDs – it's not that we cannot afford to, it's that we cannot afford not to"

"NCDs 2.0: the role of mobile and emerging technologies in the response to NCDs"

"Rethinking the way we live – redesigning our cities, to make health easy"

"The forgotten 'other' burden – NCDs and Asia"

"Reconnecting with food and the food supply – essential in overcoming NCDs"

“The NCD crisis in the ATSI community (Indigenous Health)”

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In collaboration with NCDFREE, REACH are producing a crowd sourced photographic exhibition, taking place at the launches.

The competition is now open for submissions, get more details here. http://bit.ly/NCDFREEWorld


The 2013 Festival of Ideas NCDFREE Launch will showcase the narratives of young health change-makers – featuring talks, Q&A, comedy, music, art and entertainment, in addition to the Australian debut of the NCDFREE series of advocacy short-films. 

NCDFREE will be handing the stage over to visionary young change-makers from all corners of the globe to tell their stories and call for action on NCDs:

  • Kate Taylor (Aus) - The economics of investing in NCDs – it's not that we cannot afford to, it's that we cannot afford not to.
  • Fred Hersch (UK/Aus) - NCDs 2.0: the role of mobile and emerging technologies in the response to NCDs.
  • Lucinda Hartley (Aus) - Rethinking the way we live – redesigning our cities, to make health easy.
  • Shusmita Khan (Bangladesh) - The forgotten 'other' burden – NCDs and Asia.
  • Shauna Downs (Canada/Aus) - Reconnecting with food and the food supply – essential in overcoming NCDs.
  • Tuguy Esgin (Aus) - NCD crisis in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

NCDFREE is a global social movement to address Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which include heart disease, diabetes, cancer, lung disease and mental illness.

Linked by common determinants, NCDs kill more people than HIV, TB, Malaria and all other causes combined – 35 million each year – and more than 80% of deaths occur in the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities.

Founded by brothers Dr Alessandro & Giuseppe Demaio, a team of dedicated volunteers and the Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network, the NCDFREE campaign aims to shine a light on leading young change-makers working to prevent NCDs in communities all across the globe, through community, stories and films.

After a year of connecting with inspiring individuals, NCDFREE is launching a series of global symposia, first at Harvard University, then with the University of Melbourne as part of the 2013 Festival of Ideas.

Sponsored by Australian Unity & Remedy Healthcare and Melbourne communications company Local Peoples.

Find out more at ncdfree.org

Farmers are not known for talking about their emotions, but in the south-west of Victoria, they're opening up. Recently, the region has been dealing with a range of economic problems, but when it was highlighted that three farmers had taken their own lives in the space of just eight weeks, community members started talking in earnest about mental health.

ELEANOR HALL: Farmers are not known for talking about their emotions, but in the south-west of Victoria, they're opening up.

The region has been dealing with a range of economic problems, but when it was revealed that three farmers had taken their lives in the space of just eight weeks, community members started talking in earnest - not just about the economy, but about their mental health.

As Kirsten Veness reports.

KIRSTEN VENESS: Wendy Bell has been running a farm in Condah in south-west Victoria and raising two children by herself ever since her husband died of bowel cancer seven years go.

With low milk prices, she hasn't been able to make a profit, and a recent shortage in feed has meant she needed to borrow heavily from the bank.

WENDY BELL: The way I look at it at the moment, I feel like the bank's going to close on me shortly.

KIRSTEN VENESS: The 46-year-old says she's worn out.

WENDY BELL: I've got three vertebrae in my neck that's getting squashed and it's causing pins and needles and pains down my arm.

KIRSTEN VENESS: But emotionally it's taken an even greater toll.

WENDY BELL: I was coping pretty good up until earlier this week. I've had a little bit of a meltdown. I am a pretty good person at putting up a cover, a front. I had to do it when my husband died of cancer.

But yeah just this last week it's starting to get on top of me with everything that's happening.

KIRSTEN VENESS: Have you sought help, professional help for this?

WENDY BELL: No I haven't actually sought professional help for this, but I've started to talk to a few people.

KIRSTEN VENESS: And it seems Wendy isn't the only one who has started talking about the challenges of life on the land.

Just a few weeks ago 600 farmers gathered in Warrnambool for a so-called "night off". It was a show of support for the farming families who had lost loved ones to suicide.

The former Victorian premier and chairman of BeyondBlue Jeff Kennett spoke at the event.

JEFF KENNETT: A lot of farmers are very proud. You know, they've been born in the belief they've got to prove that they're tougher than John Wayne. Therefore a lot of them won't seek help unless they're run over by a tractor, their legs are ripped off them, their arms are taken from their trunk - and only at that stage do they think that justifies them seeking help!

KIRSTEN VENESS: The rate of suicide in farming communities is hard to ascertain. Academic Alison Kennedy from the National Centre for Farmer Health says often it's not recorded because of a stigma around suicide in rural communities.

ALISON KENNEDY: But certainly suicide rates have been increased and have put down to a number of cumulative impacts. For example say in Queensland, at the moment there are high rates of suicide among farming communities, and they've been reported at almost double that of the general population.

KIRSTEN VENESS: But there does seem to be evidence of people asking for help.

Cathy Harbison is from Warrnambool Food Share and says for the first time farmers are coming directly to her organisation.

CATHY HARBISON: The teabags that we were handing out and the sachets that you add to the casserole were, for them, luxury items. So in fact that farmer said that she had not been able to buy food in two years. She was having to... the family were having to eat what they grew on the farm.

KIRSTEN VENESS: Wendy Bell believes attitudes are slowly changing and is happy to lead the way.

WENDY BELL: Because if we don't open up, people are going to do silly things that you can't turn back. I think, yes, we need to open up and that's why I'm opening up. I've got two kids, they need a mum.

ELEANOR HALL: That's farmer and single mother Wendy Bell ending that report from Kirsten Veness.

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