mental illness

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The government has acknowledged that just sending people off for a set number of psychology sessions is an inadequate response, particularly for people with more complex conditions. LoloStock/Shutterstock

Mental health changes should be judged on outcomes, not promises

The reforms announced today have the potential to change this appalling situation. But ultimately they should be judged on the outcomes they achieve for patients.
Easton Woodhead has been found not guilty of murder on the basis of mental impairment, but he did not walk free from the court. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

How the insanity defence against a murder charge works

Despite the many people with mental illness who go to prison, successful defences of mental impairment are rare. But this is not a 'get out of jail free' card and should be more accessible.
Men are more likely to use cannabis because of external factors such as peer use, and women for internal factors such as anxiety. Iriana Shiyan/Shutterstock

Men and women use cannabis for different reasons

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug with more than 181 million consumers worldwide, three quarters of whom are men. Why do men and women use cannabis?
Australians are less likely to see a person with an anxiety disorder as warranting professional help. David Goehring/Flickr

Australians understand depression, so why don’t we ‘get’ anxiety?

Australians have come a long way in understanding depression. Most recognise the symptoms and believe in the value of professional help. But anxiety disorders have been left behind.
Therapy, drugs or exercise? The depression treatment journey can be difficult to navigate. Eduardo Millo/Flickr

You’ve been diagnosed with depression, now what?

So you're depressed. You know this because a health profession has told you so, or because there is no mistaking the symptoms. Perhaps you've been depressed before. What now?
Some women are very sensitive to small shifts in hormones, others aren’t. Petras Gagilas/flickr

Chemical messengers: how hormones affect our mood

In recent times, we have learnt more about the connections between the “reproductive” or gonadal hormones and the brain, and how they affect not only women but men as well.
The erection of barriers and nets at public sites with a high incidence of suicide results in far fewer deaths – at the site and nearby locations. Jane Pirkis

Blocking the means of suicide can buy time and lives

Installing barriers and safety nets at public sites with a high incidence of suicide can reduce the number of deaths at these sites by more than 90%.
A new approach should include social supports, such as living skills and assistance obtaining housing and employment. Ollyy/Shutterstock

From asylums to GP clinics: the missing middle in mental health care

On closing the asylums, Australia failed to invest in an alternative model of community mental health care. So there are few alternatives between the GP surgery and the hospital emergency department.
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological conditions in the world. from

Epilepsy: sorting the myths from the facts of a common disorder

Saying someone has epilepsy is a little like saying they're ill. Its cause can vary from a brain tumour to an inherited genetic condition, the consequence of injury or a disorder affecting the brain.
Sandra Bland’s body is removed from a Texas jail. Waller County Sheriff's Office/via REUTERS

Imagining a better outcome for Sandra Bland

With the rate of suicide on the rise, it's time to train law enforcement officials to recognize the signs of mental illness.
A diagnostic label such as borderline personality disorder, with its stigma and propensity to invalidate the person’s suffering, clearly has many negative impacts. madamepsychosis/Flickr

Borderline personality disorder is a hurtful label for real suffering – time we changed it

Diagnostic labels usually describe symptoms, attempt to answer the question of what is wrong, and lead to a treatment plan. But "borderline personality disorder" fails on all three counts.
The many people who are mourning the loss of Phil Walsh should also reflect on what we as a society can do to help families avoid such tragedies. AAP/Ben Macmahon

When a parent is killed: family tragedy is often a mark of our broader failings

The killing of Phil Walsh is a tragedy for his family and the football community. It should also lead us to question whether we do enough to support families before the issues they face spiral out of control.

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