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Letters to the Editor

From time to time, a commentary on the world will bubble up inside of me to the extent that I'm forced to write a letter to my local, metropolitan, daily newspaper, The Age. This is where I blow of some steam. Feel like venting too? Add your own comment or visit my homepage.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Mental Health - More of the Same?

Professor Patrick McGorry's call for "more of the same, but dearer" in mental health (The Age, 24/10/05) sidesteps an opportunity to step back and critically examine the current approach. By any definition, our model of psychotherapy-drug-hospital is failing the people it is meant to be helping. In order to "focus on best buys" and "prioritise capacity to benefit as a key criterion for investment" we need to ask: are psychiatrists the only answer? Can we improve the efficiency and effectiveness of responses by involving other practitioners and approaches? Do psychologists, nurses and counselors have a role in getting out of the diagnose/medicate loop?

Since these questions might break the medical fraternity's stranglehold on the prescription pad and Medicare rebate forms, it is unlikely they will be asked. Psychiatry has had over a hundred years of unfettered control - now we need to hear from other voices.



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Anonymous Anonymous vented ...

There have been studies looking into what type of model we need for a cost effective and consumer supportive mental health system. Check out a google search on "Tolkien II" by Professor Gavin Andrews, UNSW at St Vincent's Hospital, Australia.

It looks kinda good with regard to a focus on community based services and the need for more accommodation.

The medical model it self is stretched, so those who are being 'treated' with the "MMM" approach of medicate, manage and monitor aren't even having that done effectively. There is a total lack of effective preventative support for people who have mental health issues but aren't 'ill' enough or 'at risk' enough to warrant a much sort after bed in hospital. As such they get much worse and a know fact is that the longer people with low-prevalence disorders like schizophrenia (what ever that actually is by the way) go with out medication and treatment, the harder it is for them to recover to a more 'normal' and socially acceptable state.
Either bring back the institutions (anbd face facts we have, and continue, to fail people) or lets actually put some decent money and research into mental health, support for carers, and appropriate housing.

Friday, November 04, 2005 2:41:00 pm  

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