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It’s normal to feel distressed after a such an attack, but this generally reduces in the following days and weeks. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Social supports build resilience and reduce distress after trauma

People in Sydney and the broader community are feeling shocked, anxious, and sad about the actions of a lone, unstable person that led to the tragic loss of lives in the siege early this week. But there’s…
We need to temper the desire to offer well-intentioned care to Sydney siege hostages by abiding to the guiding principle of not causing harm. AAP/Joel Carrett

Why not all Sydney siege hostages will need mental health help

As the country reels from the Sydney siege and its unhappy end, many will be wondering what can be done for the hostages stuck for hours with the gunman in the Lindt café. The answer may be surprisingly…
Put down the laptop and feel the cheer. Mike McCune

How mindfulness could give you the gift of a calmer Christmas

In the run-up to Christmas we find our to-do lists bloated with added chores: present shopping, card writing, preparing to travel or receive guests. We are bombarded with adverts telling us what to buy…
Asylum seekers with an existing mental health condition who receive negative outcomes during the application process are particularly vulnerable. Barat Ali Batoor

‘Fast track’ asylum processing risks fairness for efficiency

After much controversy, the Senate passed the Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 late last week. One aspect of the law – the “fast track assessment…
People who experience compassion fatigue are taking on the issues they witness without an appropriate outlet. Mr.Nikon/Shutterstock

Compassion fatigue: the cost some workers pay for caring

Health and social workers often choose their profession because they want to help people. But seeing trauma and suffering on a regular basis can have a deep impact on these workers. “Compassion fatigue…
The insanity defence is often an option of last resort rather than a lenient alternative to imprisonment. Douglas LeMoine

You’ve seen it on TV – but what is the insanity defence?

What comes to mind when you hear or read about the “insanity defence”? Are the mental images of people who fake insanity to “get away with murder”? Your ideas might have been formed by films such as One…
The vulnerability of mentally disordered people warrants a range of strong protections to prevent wrongful convictions. Emmanuel Huybrechts/Flickr

Justice for all: how should the law deal with false confessions?

Confessions constitute strong evidence of wrongdoing, but not all of them are reliable. So what can the legal system do to ensure justice is done? A US judge is deciding on exactly this matter in a prominent…
There just aren’t enough psychiatrists to meet demand. Psychiatrist via Shutterstock

Why is it so hard to see a psychiatrist?

Getting psychiatric care in the United States is a lot harder than it should be. Patients around the country are having a hard time booking appointments for outpatient care, and face significant hurdles…
The mental health problems of children with intellectual disabilities are largely undiagnosed and untreated. SriHarsha PVSS/Flickr

What about the mental health of kids with intellectual disability?

High-quality epidemiological research shows children and adolescents with intellectual disability are four times more likely to have diagnosable mental health problems compared to others their age. This…
Don’t blame it on the snow. Ilaria Coradazzi

Explainer: what is seasonal affective disorder?

It’s that time of year again - the end of daylight savings and the beginning of the dark season. While many of us look forward to seasonal festivities, millions can also expect feelings of depression…
A growing body of research suggests placebos may be as good as real drugs for treating depression. Victor/Flickr

Antidepressants may be no better than a placebo, so why take them?

Seventeenth-century Oxford scholar Robert Burton’s lifework, The Anatomy of Melancholy, weighs in at a door-stopping 1,400 pages. But his cure for the “Black Choler” of depression came down to just six…
People with complex trauma appear like they are always anticipating or responding to a threat. file404/Shutterstock

Complex trauma: how abuse and neglect can have life-long effects

Experiencing trauma has significant implications for mental health. We’ve known this for some time but particularly since the early 1970s after observing and studying the effects of war on American servicemen…

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