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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…
Disclosing mental illness in the office can be difficult. But it doesn’t need to be. Image of office worker via KieferPix/Shutterstock

Risk and respect – what to know about disclosing mental illness at work

Deciding to disclose information about a non-obvious disability at work is complicated and potentially risky, no matter what you do for a living. For people with a mental health issue, like bipolar disorder…
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…
Shifting descriptions. Words by Shutterstock

Is schizophrenia a ‘real’ illness?

In an attempt to move away from the traditional language used to describe psychosis and schizophrenia, the British Psychological Society (BPS) has launched an update to its thinking on this issue. The…
Physician attitudes towards mental illness can reflect the general public’s prejudice. Image of man on stairs via Dariush M/Shutterstock

Stigma about mental illness steers medical students away from psychiatry

Mental illness is a major public health problem in the United States. Suicide alone takes the lives of 38,000 Americans each year, more than double that from homicide. Medical and surgical patients who…
Too stringent an approach to assisted dying risks locking people with mental illness out of the right to make decisions about the end of their lives. Thomas Hawk/Flickr

Should people with acute mental suffering be allowed to die?

Euthanasia advocates often assert a distinction between dying with dignity (good) and suicide (bad), drawing on the community’s twin commitment to both permitting euthanasia in some circumstances, and…
Sharon Stone, in Basic Instinct, dramatised the catastrophic actions of a clever yet unhinged woman. EPA/ Peter Foley

Assertive female sexuality is pathologised time and again

Mental illness and women’s sexuality are frequently aligned – on screen and off. The father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, pathologised women’s sexuality. Indeed his definition of a woman as someone…
Positive portrayals of people with mental illness exist in the media but these are the exception rather than the norm. Network Ten

Homeland, Carrie Mathison and mental illness on television

When Homeland first aired in 2011 starring a CIA agent with bipolar disorder, Carrie Mathison (played by Claire Danes), it was commended for its realistic portrayals of people with mental illness. Courtney…
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…
Therapy helps patients gradually confront situations, places and activities they’ve avoided since the traumatic event. Bill Strain/Flickr

Treating post-traumatic stress disorder: confronting the horror

While human beings have always known about the mental health effects of trauma, it was only in 1980 that the term post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, was coined. This acceptance spawned an explosion…
People who attribute mental illness to brain disease or genes tend to blame affected people less, but see them as more hopeless and dangerous. lauren rushing/Flickr

Brains, genes and chemical imbalances – how explanations of mental illness affect stigma

Depression, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions are increasingly linked to abnormalities in the brain and in our genes. Many professionals believe these developments hold the key to better treatments…
Past failures cannot detract from the significance of documenting current abuses of children Stephen Mitchell

Back to the future: revisiting the treatment of child asylum seekers

The 1,000-plus children currently detained in immigration detention facilities in Australia and Nauru are at risk of serious mental health and developmental problems. The Human Rights Commission this week…

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