Depression

RISE UP AUSTRALIA PARTY’s vision for Australia: ‘A hope and a future.’ (1)

*QUOTE: “…effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. For, as Socrates told us, ‘If a man does not know to what port he is sailing, no wind is favorable.'” (2)

*QUOTE: “When a person lacks context they don’t see purpose. If they do not see their life with meaning they lack hope.” (3)

RISE UP AUSTRALIA PARTY seeks to re-establish purpose and hope through this Depression policy.

POLICY DETAIL:
RUAP believes that a priority needs to be placed on Mental Health, caring for the individual, and the wider community as a whole.

RUAP believes that those journeying through depression, should have assistance that reduces any fears; the person should have access to counselling, companionship and where possible camaraderie.  The laws and guidance governing that assistance should be of comfort, kindness and hope and also of honesty.

RUAP-believes that at least a SEVEN faceted approach for implementation and/or review is necessary for dealing with depression, as follows:

  1. ACCESS TO PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE
    A. PROMPT ASSISTANCE AND STRENGTHENING PATHWAYS between the GP and (where applicable) hospitals’ CATT (Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team) and case managers, Counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists and the ‘community connector’.B. COMMUNITY CONNECTORS: Government subsidized training program for volunteers to become ‘community-connectors’.  Community Connectors (or CC’s) can be offered and/or appointed to individuals assessed with depression, and those with possible precursors to depression.  Organisations such as GROW, ERMHA. Etc. (4) to issue CC’s with an increased focus on longer term relationship and 24/7 availability.

COMMUNITY CONNECTORS (also known as ‘CC’s) to be trained to:

  1. establish contact (when medical professional sees fit) with permission of  client
    ii. assist with journeying on client’s pathway of healing
    iii. to assist at any time on the pathway be it by phone call 24/7

– Phone may be diverted for further help should the CC be unavailable

– however the CC should aim to be available as much as possible

– CC ‘s to be firstly a listening ear, gentle words where possible, notify other relevant professional if their client’s situation escalates to crisis and/or beyond their training.

  1. Focus on the first 7 days for option of ongoing 24/7 companionship post tragedy / separation / negative life altering event.

– During this seven day period, CC’s should wear casual and non-professional clothes and establish a listening ear and/or presence of quiet companionship (times of quiet if the client does not want to talk).

v. SENIOR CITIZENS are our nation’s rich heritage and an almost untapped resource, and should be considered as first priority as candidates for the CC training program.  Senior citizens have priceless life experience and wisdom.  CC training gives senior citizens a place of kind influence in the lives of others.  CC training be offered to all senior citizens (where physically able, but if physically unable, may wish to be phone available).

  1. MENTAL HEALTH PLAN AND ASSESSMENT by GP but not mandatory in order to access the 10 free visits to a Psychologist or Counsellor.  After the initial and total of 10 free visits with either psychologist or Counsellor, the person with depression to be subsidized for all future appointments, with a view to placing visits to either professionals on the Medicare Schedule of Benefits
  2. REFERRAL TO GROUPS: All health professionals, when a person with depression (or suspected depression) presents, to highlight the importance of offering a referral to groups of interest including Men’s Sheds, sports, craft, church, youth group, and other (refer to list under (Physical Activity’), that a friend or CC attend with them where possible.E. ‘A FUTURE AND A HOPE’
  3. Defining and/or establishing hope within an individual, and when ready, making plans for the future, should be a significant aspect of therapy.
    ii. The option of a Life Coach referral with a Life mapping focus, should be an       option.2. HEALTH
    RUAP recognises the importance of nutrition for a better chance at a healthy mental state.
    A. NUTRITION: GP and other mental health care workers to consider, and before a long term anti-depressant and/or anti-psychotic plan is established, that a full blood work up and faecal testing is issued to identify underlying nutritional inadequacies including omega 3 and 6 oils of which linoleic acid levels (one of oils responsible for crucial brain function), Vitamin D, iron levels, thyroid function, (contribute to mood stability and or hormone function), beneficial bacteria levels in the gut and sensitivity to gluten (5),  and referral to a nutritionist if do so deemed a necessity, that the option for nutritionist re­­­erral be offered regardless of outcome of blood and faecal tests.
    B. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: A further action of physical activity be prescribed, fitting to ability and with a community inclusive focus; that options include walking groups, sports clubs, personal training, gym run boot camps, swimming classes, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, hiking groups, Bear-Grylls type survival retreats, regular low or high impact exercise classes, wheelchair exercise (if fitting), quiet getaway retreats and similar pursuits.3. NEW IMMIGRANTS
    One of the fastest ways to settle in the Australian community is to know the English language.  This will increase the chance of inclusion and reduce the risk of isolation and depression; so the following to be established:

    A. New arrivals, required to enter country with minimum of basic English language skills regardless of gender, age or belief system.
    Only in extreme refugee circumstances, can immigrants be granted entry with no English skills but then mandatory basic English classes to be undertaken within weeks of arrival.
    B. New arrivals to be offered a Community Connector upon arrival and/or when deemed necessary (as offered to all residents) including to overseas students (who also are represent in the statistics of depression and suicide.)

  4. SCHOOL PROGRAM/ EDUCATIONAL APPROACH
    A. SCHOOLS: Establish permanent programs in schools educating on healthy body image, healthy relationships, emotional health, etc that is age-specific similar to programs such as delivered by Angel Light Link and Values For Life (6)

Entire school leadership and teaching staff structure to be briefed prior to introduction of program (for referring situations that arise), and the final sessions of this program to be on depression and suicide education, defining depression and asking the question: If you or someone you knew had depression or is suicidal, what would you do?  The final sessions should also include a ‘Hope for the Future’ approach to finish with a positive vision.

School curriculum should include the benefits of volunteer work and community service and establish an excursion for all students in service to their local community.

B. TRAINING: All mental health care workers, including chaplains, school well being coordinators should undergo specialised suicide prevention training similar to Windermere’s intensive ASIST program.  ASIST-type training should be introduced into Secondary school curriculum, and alongside healthier relationships and mental health education etc, offered in school education.

This Suicide-Prevention training should also be subsided and offered to high risk groups which may include school leavers, overseas visiting students, armed forces personnel, middle aged men, and the elderly, and other identified at-risk groups.

5. INCREASED FUNDING
A. FOR SCHOOL PROGRAMS as mentioned above.
B. FOR DHS and associated family services, including assist the nurturing structure of the household with counselling and sometimes respite for children.  Education to remove the stigma of such community and government assistance, strengthen a healthy home structure with an understanding that everyone gets down from time to time and needs a helping hand’.

6. FOCUS ON VOLUNTEERISM
QUOTE: ‘Ask not what my country can do for me, ask what I can do for my country’ (7)
Rise Up AustraliaParty recognises the personal, community and national benefits of volunteering.
Those recognised as suicidal and on disability pension, when deemed stable, to have an increased importance of referral for volunteer work.
As mentioned under ‘School Program, Educational approach: School curriculum should include the benefits of volunteer work and community service and establish an excursion for all students in service to their local community.

7. HELP FOR THE HELP
All health care workers to have access to a professional and confidential counselling/crisis 24/7 hotline for self-care
Candidates include:
A. GP’s, Nurses, Counsellors, psychologists, Psychiatrists, Clinicians
B. CC’s, teachers, school staff and well being workers,
C. Government and Non-Government Organisations( NGO’s) who deal regularly with the mentally at-risk, be it police officers, ambulance workers, etc.

All groups to have access to well-being and/or debrief groups in a safe/confidential environment whether issued from the workplace or an independent provider.

QUOTE: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (8)

REFERENCES:

(1)For I know the plans I have for you” declares The Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11, The Bible

(2) Former US President John F. Kennedy

(3) Shane Varcoe, The Dalgarno Institute

(4) GROW is a national organisation that provides a peer support program for growth and personal development to people with a  mental illness and those people experiencing difficulty in coping with life’s challenges.’ (grow.net.au)

‘ERMHA is a community based organisation that supports recovery and instils hope for people who are experiencing the effects of mental illness.’ Ermha stands for ‘Eastern Regions Mental Health Association’ (ermha.org).

(5) Article Herald Sun may 26, 2014 ‘gluten diet linked to mental problems’

(6) Angel Light Link is a not-for-profit organisation, focusing on the care and support of at-risk young women.

Values For Life is an educational program that inspires all school students to develop community building values, make wise choices and fulfil their potential.

(7) JFK Inauguration speech 1961)

(8) Jesus Christ, John 16:33, The Bible.

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