This week on the Mental Health Digest we take a look at a group in Croatia taking back ownership of what mental illness means. We hear the story of an Irish bikini model and how she has battled anxiety, depression and a suicide attempt, showing once again that mental illness can affect anyone. The positivity ends there as The Journal reveals attacks on mental health nurses have risen dramatically in the last few years. A senator from Australia has a great idea for the $20m underspend in the recent same-sex marriage referendum. And finally, a study by the University of Alabama has found that poor social skills can contribute to both physical and mental health issues later in life.
‘We give people their humanity back’: inside Croatia’s pioneering mental health centre (The Guardian)
In the not so olden days, the world had an interesting approach to people with serious mental health issues and that was to basically treat them as criminals, and hope they somehow rehabilitate and recover from their illnesses spontaneously. In this Croatian mental health centre, the group took over a mental asylum for the insane and turned it into what a mental health centre should be – a place to care for people. A lot of the people were released, as there was no benefit to their health and no danger to anyone outside. The doors were opened and the name was changed, as did the approach. It is now a place for people to truly get better. The most interesting thing is that the funding is almost the same, it is only the attitude and how they spend that money that is different. Amazing what a new approach can do.
The people and the images girls are surrounded by are beautiful, happy women perusing confidently on billboards and advertisements, which is exactly what real life is like. That is how ALL women are. OK, that is not true, and Clodagh Cahil confirms this myth as the bikini model talks openly about her struggles regarding how she battled depression, anxiety and a suicide attempt before reaching out to get help. She does say in her interview that we shouldn’t focus on others, which right now is true, but in the future I hope more people are open and honest, meaning looking at others won’t be as painful.
‘Alarming’: Attacks on mental health staff went from 11 in 2015 to 149 so far this year (The Journal)
The numbers may appear to be small but even 1 attack is too much. The HSE in Ireland doesn’t attribute any particular reason for the recent rise, which I do think is a little bit of an easy way out. Especially as the increase is so dramatic, and rising. I do feel in these situations the typical political tennis match of just hitting the problem back and forward until it goes away doesn’t really help the issue. Where is the research, both at a practical level and a sociological level? It seems like this is a great opportunity to find some meaningful answers, instead, they will probably just hire some security or increase aggression towards patients.*
$20m same-sex marriage survey underspend should go to mental health services, Turnbull told (The Sydney Morning Herald)
Something amazing happened in Australia last week! No not that, I mean the Government underspent on a budget, obviously. For what must be the first time in history a government budget had a surplus which means they now have the unique situation of deciding what to do with some spare cash. A leading senator suggested they spend the money on mental health considering the strong links between anti-gay propaganda and mental health issues. Something tells me the anti-gay marriage leader will find a better use for the money.
The headline kind of says everything doesn’t it? You get exactly what it says on the tin. The study did find that poor social skills affect both physical and mental health. Interestingly though the focus is not on mental health and that is because previously no link has been found between poor social skills and physical health… until today! If parents needed any more pressure in the world they now know that if they don’t teach their children how to appropriately approach and interact with other people they are setting their childhood for both physical and mental torment, ahhh to be a parent.
And that wraps up another week of mental health news. Oh, and don’t worry about the entirely click bait title and picture. That is just to trick the school kids to click on this and read about real issues instead of watching a poorly edited video log (vlog) by some 19-year-old Youtube millionaire. I’m also curious to see what it does to the view count. Mindfump Science! See you next week! Oh and if you like the digest – share it, or else.
*Probably not, but it sounds right.
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