Mental Health Illness Is Indiscriminate

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Emma Eros

Mental health knows no barriers, and sadly Daniel Hadley, the son of broadcaster Ray Hadley from 2GB Radio has fallen victim to this insidious illness. Daniel, who is a 28-year-old police officer, has experienced some incredibly disturbing incidents that one could not begin to imagine. Daniel had been silently suffering and trying to deal with the trauma that goes hand in hand with his role as a police officer.

Sadly, not everyone is able to cope with the associated carnage that our emergency service workers deal with on a daily basis, and Daniel falls into this category. Daniel, who had been off work for several months due to injuries, had been silently battling mental health issues for some time.

I take my hat off and applaud all of our emergency service workers as this is a job that I could not do personally. Thankfully there are people who will take on these roles and deal with unimaginable tragedies on a daily basis.

Many emergency service people do not ask for help (due to the impact it may have on their career or being ashamed of admitting that they are not coping) and they are self-medicating through drugs, alcohol or other means. Daniel has unfortunately fallen into this category, but now he has been forced to step out of the darkness and we can hope that he receives the help he desperately requires.

This is not an isolated case, as many of our emergency workers are suffering, and suffering mostly in silence. In its submission to a senate enquiry the Police Federation of Australia recommended that a service provider network be set up in every state and territory for police officers suffering trauma. In the submission, Chief Executive Mark Burgess advised that the service would focus on early intervention, diagnosis and treatment.

“A recent report conducted by the Phoenix Australia Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health found almost one in four AFP officers suffer from psychological distress, while almost one in 10 has had suicidal thoughts.”

I think this is indicative of the impact of the job, and these issues do not just affect the AFP, they are also prominent in our Fire Brigade, Ambulance Drivers and Defence Force.

As mentioned, mental health is indiscriminate and can take hold of anyone, from your average person to our emergency service workers. Mental illness affects approximately 4 million Australians, including children, and it appears to be on the rise. Every day, 8 Australians take their own life due to mental illness. It seems that our mental health services are hard to access, underfunded and very fragmented, which makes it difficult for people to get the services they require in their time of need.

Another group vulnerable to mental health issues are our farmers as they watch their livelihood, stock and crops wither and die before their very eyes and are unable to prevent this. Our mental health care and services seems to be broken, and are in desperate need of an overhaul as so many people are succumbing to this terrible illness.

The 13th of September is R U OK Day and this is the perfect opportunity to reach out to someone you may think is struggling. Just the simple act of asking this questions “are you ok?’, can open a conversation and possibly save a life.

The Australian government needs to take this matter seriously and place greater focus and afford greater resources to combat this, instead of virtue signalling in the UN. Where is our government when its own citizens need its assistance the most?

If you or anyone that you think may be suffering distress, depression or mental illness, then please contact the following support groups:

SANE Helpline – 1800 18 72 63
Lifeline – 131 114
Beyond Blue – 1300 22 46 36

You are not alone, so please reach out for support either to one of the above groups or to a trusted family member or friend.

  • Bronson

    This is very distressing. Sometimes I feel the terminology is a bit misleading in that PTSD is not so much a mental illness but a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances, akin to an injury rather than a disease.

    I recall an explanation which fits PTSD along the lines that Homo Sapiens, with no sharp teeth or claws, nor particularly fast in running survived because the species developed a brain which evolved to handle threats mentally in advance rather than by instinctual physical reaction to threats which realised.

    So for example, i.e. simplified model of the process by way of a mental experiment: When a person walked under a tree in Africa at night time and barely escaped with his or her life from a big cat jumping down the person who did not reflect on the experience next time became big cat dinner, so that sort of brain was killed off. OTOH the brain which stopped to (1) reflect and think “Holy sh*t, what the hell was that and what did I do wrong?” and (2) “What do I need to do differently next time?” survived to reproduce.

    The second stage would have been a tentative conclusion needing to be confirmed in the field after which the lesson learned was remembered but the trauma was in a sense defanged, remembered like a black and white silent movie rather than a color movie with sound effects.

    The difficulty in PTSD, or more chronic versions as per child abuse say, is that the person probably did nothing wrong, but a different human actor did or contributed. So the mind goes over the scene repeatedly trying to spot the wrong decision and in terms of human caused trauma it may often come down to a realization of a misplaced sense of trust when at the time that was not obvious, e.g. a child abused going to the authorities expecting them to do something about the situation but those authorities move to protect their own interests.

    Even if this stage of mentally processing the experience does stabilise the experience hardly ever replicates, thankfully, so the person is unable to validate the first stage conclusion by testing out what the alternate “I should have …” but is always alert for it.

    Substance abuse is a way of dulling the mind to mentally bail out.

    • Ron Mortimer

      I agree that PTSD is not a mental illness per se but a response to abnormal circumstances. More accurately it seems to be an interrupted physiological response to threat. The primary response to threat, as is widely known, is Fight/Flight. The less widely known response is that of Freeze/Flop.If we can’t run or fight and are trapped, the body
      s response is to freeze. In today’s society where threats are very often non physical and do not lend themselves to a fight or flight response, the freeze response is the nervous system’s often inevitable response.
      There has been a lot of new thinking about this over the past 20 or so years, starting with Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal Theory and leading to various new non psychological approaches to treatment aimed at allowing the discharge of the nervous system’s response to threat and the return to a normal mental state. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d3882048bedf232d5954625d1518101437faae2429391da84d55ae16fdaacd3a.jpg

      • Bronson

        Good info there Ron. Another term for the ‘flop’ response might be what I’ve seen elsewhere, i.e. the ‘fawn’ response, a la Stockholm Syndrome. This was deployed by female flight attendants when passenger airliners were being hijacked – they would flirt with the male hijackers as a form of getting onside (plus possibly other subconscious reasons which Dr Peterson might have some input on).

  • 9x19parabellum

    A few side points:
    – As much as the left hate to admit it, mental illness affects more men than women.
    – Islamics killing civilians with trucks is not mental illness. It’s premeditated.

    Also remove beyond blue’s number. Men, avoid that place like the plague. Good luck getting adequate treatment and not lectured about your privilege while beyond blue is chaired by that wretched feminist misandrist scumbag Julia gillard.

    • Ron Mortimer

      I agree regarding BB. Another organization taken over once the $$$$ started rolling in, and now facilitating even more depression in the community by their attitudes.

  • White Robot

    This article is newspeak. Anyone who signs up to be a cop and didn’t realise that you have to be a cop is an idiot. Women shouldn’t be frontline emergency service workers.
    Farmers are ratfucked by their local and state governments with planning regulations, rates, land tax, water levies and restrictions, and inflated energy costs. Despair is a reaction, not a mental illness.
    Only arseholes are diagnosed with or defended by a mental illness.

  • Minging

    It seems the norm now for anyone being arrested for any crime, from relatively minor drug possession across the gamete to Islamic terrorism, simply plays the ‘mental illness’ card after the fact. So excuse me Ray Hadley for being one of those that ‘are getting the contempt they deserve’ for being a bit suss of a policeman no less being busted on drug charges and then suddenly bringing up his ‘mental illness’ for the first time.

    Who the fuck wrote this contrived article on the actual reported facts anyway? Emma Eros? Is she not the pseudo-Muslim that schooled on her own religion by Milo?

  • John Sheppard

    Great to see this article, thanks for posting! When I was first separated I struggled, and sought help from the medical center at my barracks, only to be turned away because I was a reservist. When you have just been left by the person you cared about most, and then get turned away when you look for help, it is a dark place you find yourself in. Thankfully the VVCS were brilliant, so came through OK.

    The worst thing in my opinion when someone calls for help is for the line to be busy or people on the other end to say they can’t help you. At the very least, point them in the right direction instead of just shutting the door in their fact!

    On a side note, after reading other comments, I agree with them entirely. While I was in a bad place, I never sought drugs or did crime to help cope. People who do that are just using their situation as an excuse to do bad things, and should be punished as such.

  • Bikinis not Burkas

    Who else thinks it is totally irresponsible to knowingly allow somebody with a mental illness loose on the streets with a loaded Glock Pistol?

    • Jai_Normosone

      It’s not so much the mental illness that is the problem as a vast proportion of the population could be seen as having some form of mental issue depending on the head-shrinker that evaluates them.

      The far bigger issue is having people on the street with a 40-cal on their leg when they are required to do a minimum of 3 hours per 2 years to retain their accreditation while LAFOs (Law Abiding Firearm Owners) have a pile of restrictions placed on them. The consideration to use a firearm against an intruder into their home could mean all sorts of charges and trouble from the same people who are (mostly) inept at the safe handling of firearms.

      I am really torn on the issue of being able to concealed carry in this country, because if I can do it, so can the fool with 4 teeth in his head and refuses to get a job because the ‘pay’ is better from Centrelink (or the Antifa type who thinks they’re justified in using it to silence dissenting commentary).

  • Jai_Normosone

    Having thought about suicide?
    Isn’t that just the result of having an imagination? Cutting the rope to get someone out of the shed or finding a person in the bath with the power on is going to cause any normal person to consider how it must have hurt or what drove the person to that point.

    You cannot feel empathy or counsel anyone unless you’ve been there or seen it or been a part of it.

    It comes down to being able to tell yourself if the idea is foolish and should not be even considered if you ever happen to get in that frame of mind.

    I once talked a good mate out of doing it by saying that he won’t make the world a better place by getting rid of a good person. If the world needs to have a person removed from it, then there are a HEAP of them in Canberra that should be removed first.
    OK, so not the best thing to say to someone with a gun but if it gives pause….