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Narcissism is a key trait in the subset of ‘dramatic, emotional and erratic’ personality disorders. ShellyS/Flickr

Explainer: what are personality disorders and how are they treated?

Personality disorders have been richly illustrated by filmmakers. Think of attention-seeking Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. Or the villains in Silence of the Lambs and The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Deprivation and trauma and early childhood can affect the developing brain. Australian Human Rights Commission

Detained children risk life-long physical and mental harm

Many asylum seekers, including children, have experienced conflict, family separation and significant human rights violations. So how does immigration detention affect their mental health?
Make some time. Reading via patpitchaya/Shutterstock

How reading a little each week is a form of life support

One in three adults in the UK – or 16m people – rarely or never read for pleasure. A new survey of 4,164 adults, including both those who read and those who don’t, found that adults who read for just 20…
Compared to other antisocial people, psychopaths lack empathy and are less able to understand punishment. Viktor Gladkov/Shutterstock

Why violent psychopaths don’t ‘get’ punishment

The psychologist David Lykken once wrote that most violent crime could be prevented by cryogenically freezing all males aged 12 to 28. Although this option might be appealing at times for high school teachers…
People with social anxiety disorder believe they will be rejected when others see how anxious and awkward they are. rashmi ravindran/Flickr

Explainer: what is social anxiety disorder?

Most of us would admit to feeling shy from time to time, or anxious about public speaking: the larger the crowd the greater the terror. It’s also not unusual to feel awkward while making small talk with…
Sharing stories around the dinner table fosters greater self-esteem and resilience in young people. Howard Chalkley

‘Remember when we…?’ Why sharing memories is soul food

Families and friends share memories all the time; “You’ll never guess…”, “How was your day?”, and “Do you remember when…” are rich daily fodder. Sharing memories is not only a good way to debrief and reminisce…
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…

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