HEALING VOICES – Movie Premiere April 29 2016

The Hearing Voices Network Aotearoa NZ in conjunction with ISPS, and Affinity NZ are pleased to announce we are holding a screening of the Movie Healing Voices.
HEALING VOICES is a new social action documentary which will be released via grass roots, non-theatrical premiere events around the world on April 29, 2016. Written and Directed by PJ Moynihan of Digital Eyes Film, HEALING VOICES explores the experience commonly labeled as ‘psychosis’ through the stories of real-life individuals, and asks the question:  What are we talking about when we talk about ‘mental illness’? The film follows three subjects – Oryx, Jen, Dan – over nearly five years, and features interviews with notable international experts including:  Robert Whitaker, Dr. Bruce Levine, Celia Brown, Will Hall, Dr. Marius Romme, and others, on the history of psychiatry and the rise of the ‘medical model’ of mental illness.  Community screening partners will host HEALING VOICES premiere events in their local markets on 4.29.16, which will be followed by audience discussion around dialogue topics relating to the content of the film. The documentary is ideal for individuals with lived experience in the mental health system, educators, peer counselors, advocates, researchers, psychiatrists, psychologists, healthcare workers, first responders, family members, or anyone who has been touched by mental health issues in their life.
MOVIE TRAILER HERE
The Huffington Post here
says this:

Writer and director PJ Moynihan explores two question: What are we talking about when we talk about “mental illness”? What is truly helpful?

Over a five year period, Healing Voices follows Oryx, Jen, and Dan, all previously diagnosed with serious mental illness. Oryx, Jen, and Dan are each very different personalities but all are articulate, insightful, and fascinating in describing their return journeys from extreme states of consciousness to satisfying human relationships and meaningful work.

Healing Voices is not afraid to discuss aspects of our humanity that routinely terrify many of us, and Moynihan is also not afraid to make his movie fun and joyful—including playful music and animations. What is striking about Healing Voices is its combination of boldness and humility—its boldness challenging political correctness and its humility about its own assertions.

RADIO INTERVIEW HERE

https://soundcloud.com/kinkfm/healing-voices

Please see the details of our event at the Pumphouse in Takapuna on the 29th April, on the attached jpeg.

Space is limited so book asap! 

Regards

Adrienne Giacon

Chair

HVNANZ

www.hearingvoices.org.nz

Radio Interview with Gail Hornstein on Radio Boston

Here is a great radio interview with Gail Hornstein from the Hearing Voices Network on Radio Boston.

Click on the link below, then click on Listen, and the mp3 podcast will come up.

http://radioboston.wbur.org/2011/10/31/hearing-voices

When you think about it, history is full of people who say they heard voices. Mohammed, Moses, Abraham, Joan of Arc. They all claimed to hear the voice of God. Disembodied voices also dwelled within the minds of Socrates, William Blake, John Milton.

These are the kind of names that invite us to romanticize the idea of hearing voices.

But today, to say you hear voices invites something entirely different: A diagnosis of mental illness.

Well, there is a new movement that’s vigorously pushing back against the notion that those who hear voices are sick. It’s called the Hearing Voices Network. It began in the U.K. but has come to the United States, and one of the first American chapters was founded right here in Massachusetts.

The growth of the Hearing Voices Network raises many important questions:

Such as, what is a mental illness, versus what is not?

What is objective reality, versus what is not?

What is simply normal and human, versus what is not?

And what are the consequences, positive AND negative, when people who hear voices step away from traditional psychiatric care?

Guests:

With more talk in mind – Dr John Read

This is a great article Id like to share

Sydney Morning Herald, the Age Melbourne

Any review of Victoria’s mental health services must look beyond psychiatry.

John Read

September 15, 2011

Opinion

SERIOUS problems in Victoria’s mental health system have been revealed recently in The Age. The important thing now is to find solutions. In doing so we should remember that although Victoria is in the spotlight, similar ”crises” occur regularly all over the world. Perhaps this is because Victoria is not alone in having a system based on fundamentally flawed principles.

 Mental health services have become increasingly dominated by psychiatry’s ”medical model”, which claims that feeling depressed, anxious or paranoid is primarily caused by genetic predispositions and chemical imbalances.

 This has led to alarming rises in chemical solutions to distress. In New Zealand, one in nine adults (and one in five women) is prescribed antidepressants every year.

 The public, however, in every country studied, including Australia, believes that mental health problems are caused by issues such as stress, poverty and isolation. The public also prefers talking therapies to drugs and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

 Research suggests the public is right. For example, the single best predictor of just about every mental health problem is poverty, followed by other social factors such as abuse, neglect and early loss of parents in childhood, and – once in adulthood – loneliness and a range of adverse events including losses and defeats of various kinds.

 Meanwhile, reviews of studies on anti-depressants (which only recently have been able to include those previously kept secret by drug companies) conclude that they are superior to placebos only for those at the extreme end of the ”most severe” group of depressed people. This represents less than 10 per cent of the people who are receiving these drugs.

 A recent Cochrane review (the type most highly regarded in the scientific community) for risperidone, a leading anti-psychotic drug, ”suggests that there is no clear difference between risperidone and [a] placebo”.

 A placebo (from the Latin meaning ”I please”) is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed the talking therapies are effective partly because, if done well, they too instil hope and expectations of recovery.

 The problem is that psychiatric drugs often have serious adverse effects. Anti-psychotics, for instance, can cause rapid weight gain, loss of sexual function, diabetes, heart disease, neurodegeneration and reduced life span.

 As previously reported, my review of ECT studies (with Professor Richard Bentall of Liverpool University) found that this treatment is ineffective for most recipients and frequently causes permanent memory loss. This in itself can be depressing.

 ECT also has a slight but significant risk of death, most frequently from cardiovascular failure.

 Inpatient units are equally ineffective and can also be damaging. When will we learn that putting large numbers of extremely distressed people in the same building is not a good idea?

 What I conclude from all this is that any review of mental health services in Victoria, or anywhere else for that matter, should probably be led by anyone other than a psychiatrist – and certainly not in Victoria’s case the state’s Chief Psychiatrist, whose job, according to Dr Ruth Vine herself, is “to watch over how the system is functioning”.

It is unfair to expect Dr Vine to take an objective view on the failure of the system for which she is responsible. That lack of objectivity is amply demonstrated by her claims that ECT is “safe and effective” and that the problem is the public’s “negative” views. Perhaps a lawyer from the Mental Health Legal Centre might be a good choice.

 Any review should include mental health service users and their families, and other mental health professionals, including social workers, occupational therapists, psychologists and nurses.

(Psychiatric nurse Philip Lynch reminds us that there are thousands of staff “who quietly continue to do important work every day, often in challenging circumstances”; so why only listen to the doctors?)

 The review should also investigate what percentage of people receive drugs, and what percentage receive safer, more effective alternatives, and how a better balance can be achieved. It must scrutinise the contact and transactions between psychiatrists and drug company reps and consider ways to reduce or eliminate these, and as well find ways to reduce the pressure on psychiatrists by helping them feel OK about sharing decision-making. When things go wrong, as they inevitably will sometimes, everyone should share responsibility, and support one another.

 The review would need to explore the ”recovery model” recently introduced in many other countries, including New Zealand. (No, I am not saying New Zealand is superior to Australia – except, of course, when it comes to rugby.)

 Further, the review would need to learn from the many innovative non-government organisations, such as Voices Vic and Mind, and study ways to prevent mental health problems developing – perhaps by focusing on providing safe and nurturing environments in the first few years of life. Also, simply listen to the public.

 Finally, The Age can assist by reporting the issues without exaggerated headlines such as “1000 DEATHS”.

 Dr John Read is a professor of clinical psychology at Auckland University. He advises that no one should reduce or come off medication on the basis of information in this article but should, if they have concerns, consult the prescribing doctor.

 http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/with-more-talk-in-mind-20110914-1k9m2.html

 

Conversation with ourselves- an interview with Ron Coleman NZ Herald.

The following is an excellent interview conducted by Chris Barton in today Saturday 4th Junes Weekend Herald in New Zealand. Chris interviewed Ron Coleman here in Auckland and attended one of the workshops the Hearing Voices Network held there.

You can see the article on the New Zealand Heralds website here.

Here is the article below:

“You have voices telling you to kill yourself. Do you ask them why?”
No, they don’t listen.

“If I told you to go and stand in the middle of the road, you wouldn’t do it.”
No, if you told me to I wouldn’t.

“If I asked you to do it you would want a reason, but you don’t want a reason from the voices.”
Yes I do.

“Then ask them.”

This is not one’s idea of a normal conversation, but for the participants it makes perfect, potentially life-altering sense. Ron Coleman has just begun a workshop at Western Springs Community Hall on a radical self-help technique called voice dialogue.

In a five-minute conversation with a young woman he draws out, to her considerable surprise, an outline of her situation. She hears two negative middle-aged voices – one male, the other female. The male voice is worse.

She is also dealing with drug addiction, but that’s not the cause of her voices. They began when she was 10.

She has never asked what the male voice is called.

The woman is clearly astounded by Coleman’s revelation that she can ask her voices for information. “Nobody’s suggested that to you before,” he tells her, “because we are caught in the world of voices rather than having dialogue about it.”

Coleman, diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1982, should know. He spent 10 years in and out of British psychiatric hospitals, including six as a mostly compulsorily “sectioned” in-patient. During that time he was heavily medicated with a range of antipsychotic drugs and given 40 sessions of ECT.

Today he lives happily with his wife, family and seven voices. The workshop at the Western Springs Community Hall is part of a global grassroots organisation known as the Hearing Voices Network.

“What we try to do,” he tells the Herald, “is help people live with their voices.”

Born in Dundee, Scotland, Coleman turned his life around in 1991 when the Hearing Voices Network was just getting under way in Britain. He’s since gone on to become a key figure in the network and travels the world spreading its message and governing principle: “It doesn’t matter whether we conclude our voices are coming from ourselves or whether they are the voice of God or the voice of demons. We accept the diversity of everybody’s experience,” he tells another voice hearer.

“Do you hear a lot of voices?”
I hear angels.

“Are they all positive?”
Yes but sometimes my voices worry me because I worry about whether I’m saying it or whether the angels are saying it.

“So what is the purpose of angels?”
To guide me.

“So how do you test what they are saying is from the angels themselves?”
I say, ‘Is that the angels there?’

“And they say yes?”
Yes. But sometimes I don’t hear at all. I get scared because of some of the things I hear. I get scared because I don’t know if the devil can lie to me.

Coleman points out that that the devil was an angel – “an archangel and he was tossed out of heaven”. A good test as to whether an angel was talking, he suggests, would be if it asked her to do something to harm herself or anybody else. If it did, he says, that would be inconsistent with angels.

“See, I’m not going to change your mind whether there are angels or not. The only thing I’m interested in is whether it’s good for you. That it works for you.”

The network believes that auditory hallucinations or “voice hearing” shouldn’t be seen as something pathological that needs to be stopped, but rather as something meaningful and tied to the hearer’s life story. This tends to be at loggerheads with conventional psychiatry. Support groups around the world run by voice hearers for voice hearers openly challenge the standard psychiatric relationship of expert physician and psychotic patient, but increasingly some psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are seeing merit and logic in the Network’s approach.

Coleman says his recovery began when, at his first Hearing Voices group, someone told him his voices were real. “What I’d been told in the psychiatric system was that they weren’t real, they weren’t really there. That I had to ignore them and I couldn’t get involved with them. When they’re real it means you can do something about them.”

Hearing voices is like reading a really good book when you can hear the author’s characters. “As you read you can create the characters in your head. Imagine that externalised. That’s how it is with voices. You actually hear them.

“They have different characteristics. They speak with different accents. They are male or female. They are positive and negative.”

Hearing voices isn’t as unusual as we think. Many will have experienced it in the threshold consciousness between waking and falling asleep. There are also numerous examples of well-known and accomplished voice hearers throughout history.

“The Bible is written by voice hearers,” says Coleman. Think Moses and the burning bush and Jesus wandering for 40 days and 40 nights, hearing the devil’s temptations.

The roll call of other voice hearers is as variable as Winston Churchill, Socrates, Galileo, Pythagoras, Carl Jung, Gandhi, Joan of Arc, Teresa of Avila, Mohammed, William Blake, Zoe Wanamaker, St Francis of Assisi, Leonard Cohen and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Voice hearing, as Coleman’s own story demonstrates, is often linked to unresolved personal trauma. In his case he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest when he was 10 years old.

“My explanation for voices is that I created them because I needed to deal with what was going on.”

Coleman’s voices didn’t actually arrive until he was adult. Prior to that he had a different coping mechanism – rugby. “I played as prop and when I went into the scrum I’d put the face of the Catholic priest who abused me on to my opposite number and I’d just try to kill the guy.”

Then he broke his hip and couldn’t play rugby anymore.

“I ended up not having the outlet, but still having the priest in me as a constant reminder of everything and no way to get rid of my anger. Eventually it came out as voices.”

One of the first voices he heard was the priest telling him it was his fault. “That I led him into sin and I should burn in hell”.

Another voice was his father. “I felt like I’d failed my family so I had my father’s voice saying things like: ‘You’re no good. You’re f***ing worthless. You’re a failure’.”

Then there was the voice of first wife Annabelle who died suddenly. “She used to tell me to kill myself so we could be a family again. It was more about the fact that I missed her so much.”

Negotiating a way to cope with his voices took a year. With Annabelle he realised he could be with her as a voice. “I said: ‘I don’t need to die to be with you. I can be with you now – let’s talk’.” He’s since remarried and now has agreement with Annabelle only to talk to her on anniversaries.

His father’s voice changed from negative to positive after his family finally learned what happened to him as a child through a 1995 BBC Horizon documentary, Hearing Voices. His father asked why he never told him about the abuse. Because, said Coleman, he didn’t think anyone would believe him.

“My dad said yes he would, and he would have killed the priest.”

Coleman says he still hears the priest’s voice from time to time when he’s overworked and tired. What does the priest say now? “But I still think it was your fault.”

Coleman takes it as a sign that he needs to take time out and go fishing. “As soon as I hear him I tell him to f-off. ‘I’m not going to listen to you. I don’t need you. You have no power any more’.”

Getting to that point – where he could refuse to hear the priest – required dealing with his own guilt and shame. “I can’t change the past, but I’ve resolved my feelings about my own abuse.”

Another voice Coleman calls teacher. “That was my own voice – a voice trying to keep a bit of sanity in my mind. It’s always a voice of reason. In a funny sort of way I was externalising my own self rather than having inner dialogues. I tend to externalise it now, because I’m so used to hearing voices.”

There are three other positive voices – one called Dave who was someone he knew who died, and two other he keeps to himself. “The reason I don’t talk about them is I share an awful lot of my life and those are voices just for me.”

As well as providing support for voice hearers, the Hearing Voices Network is also a human rights movement – to protest at the way those diagnosed with schizophrenia are treated and to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness. Coleman says he’d like to see professionals in mental health systems spend much more time listening to people before treating them.

“I would like acknowledgement when the treatment is not working that we do something different rather than give them other drugs or just increase the drugs.”

He wants proper informed consent too – people told about the reduced life expectancy downside of antipsychotic drugs before they are given them.

He believes that if there was a properly controlled test – comparing outcomes for voice hearers engaged with the network and those using the mental health system – the network would come out on top. “We’re saving lives.”

Coleman wears his diagnosis on his skin – a tattoo on his arm reads “Psychotic and Proud”. He did it to have a constant reminder of where he came from.

“It says I refuse to be ashamed about what happened to me. I refuse to be ashamed of my diagnosis and I refuse to be ashamed of the fact I was a psychiatric patient.”

Voice of reason

* The Hearing Voices Network, founded in Britain in 1988, developed from the research of Dutch psychiatrist Marius Romme.

* It has since grown into a global self-help organisation, active in 20 countries, for people who hear voices.

* Members advocate the use of techniques employed by those who have successfully coped with their voices. This can include acceptance and negotiation with the voices.
* Hearing Voices Network Aotearoa NZ has about 100 members and holds support groups in West Auckland, Grey Lynn, Glenfield, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Wellington.

* Approximately 75 per cent of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, 20 per cent of patients with mania and 10 per cent with depression hear voices.

* About 30,000 New Zealanders are affected by schizophrenia.

Find out more on Hearing Voices Network Aotearoa NZ

www.hearingvoices.org.nz  part of international organisation Intervoice, www.intervoiceonline.org

Mental Health Unit ‘failed teen’. New Zealand Herald Sat Oct. 16th

This article was  in the NZ Herald today, you can see it on their website here written by Chris Barton.

A coroner has strongly criticised the care provided by a specialist youth mental health unit leading up to the suicide of 17-year-old Toran Henry.

Auckland Coroner Murray Jamieson said Marinoto Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services’ care of the teenager “was deficient on occasion and in particular on the day of his death”.

His remarks were included in the findings of the inquest into Toran’s death on March 20, 2008. The report was issued yesterday.

Dr Jamieson was critical that, in the face of escalating developments on the day of Toran’s death, the Waitemata District Health Board’s service left his care in the hands of a relatively inexperienced “key worker” who spoke to Toran by phone.

“Toran stated, that day, that he lost faith in one of his key workers, feeling that she had abused his trust,” said the coroner.

He said the situation would have been better dealt with by immediate consultation with a specialist psychiatrist, who could have taken direct action “such as arranging an urgent home visit together with immediate admission to a secure facility if required”.

There was criticism, too, of the way Toran had been prescribed the anti-depressant drug fluoxetine, better known as Prozac, which is not approved for treating major depressive disorders in children and adolescents in New Zealand. But it can be given to that age group by what is known as “off label” prescribing, which requires informed consent from the patient.

Dr Jamieson said the information given to Toran about the drug was not satisfactory. It was not a single comprehensive document, not up to date, not designed for a person of Toran’s age and did not include clear advice about taking the drug in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

He recommended that Marinoto should review the information provided to adolescents, especially the importance of taking the medication as prescribed.

The coroner was also critical of the last occasion Toran was prescribed fluoxetine, at a cafe near Marinoto early in March 2008, by a registrar in psychiatry who had not met Toran or his mother, Maria Bradshaw, before.

The coroner said the consultation should have been carried out by a specialist psychiatrist “fully apprised of the history and clinical picture at a venue appropriate for such an important clinical encounter”.

Dr Jamieson did not make any finding on whether taking the drug contributed to Toran’s death.

Although the question came up during the inquest, the coroner has not addressed concerns that the drug packets in New Zealand do not carry a “Black Box” warning as required by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. The warning explicitly states that “anti-depressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behaviour in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder and other psychiatric disorders”.

Malaga a le Pasifika, the cultural support service of Marinoto, was also criticised for the way it attempted, but failed, to organise a meeting between Toran and his father, Geoffrey Henry, a Cook Islander, whom Toran had not seen since he was 14 months old.

The coroner concluded that the circumstances relevant to Toran’s death were:

* The career plan that Toran had set his heart on in early 2008 had proved impractical.

* Toran had been reminded of the absence and apparent rejection of him by his father.

* His relationship with his mother had been tense.

* His relationship with his girlfriend had recently been unhappy.

* The day before his death he had been humiliated in front of many peers when he was involved in a brief fight with a younger Takapuna Grammar School student.

* His abuse of alcohol clouded his judgment.

Clinical director of Mental Health and Addiction Services at Waitemata Murray Patton said a new fluoxetine information sheet had been developed for adolescents and children.

Marinoto clinical staff have also undertaken training to ensure all service users and families have knowledge of common and serious side-effects of psychiatric medicine and how to monitor for them.

Tragic toll
About 540 people a year take their own lives – many more than last year’s road toll. More than 2500 New Zealanders are admitted to hospital each year through intentional self-harm.

Age range for 2009/2010:
* 10-14….7
* 15-19….53
* 20-24….189
* 25-29….136

DISAPPOINTED MOTHER QUESTIONS CORONERS FINDINGS

This linked article can be found here on NZ herald site and is also written by Chris Barton

Toran Henry’s mother, Maria Bradshaw, is disappointed with the findings into her son’s death.

“Was it worth $70,000 to get a [coroner’s] finding where the only recommendation made was that children should take their medication?”

Mrs Bradshaw is yet to learn whether she will get legal aid to cover some of the cost of her legal counsel at the inquest. She has had to sell her house to cover her costs to date and says she will file a complaint about the inquest.

She says she is particularly concerned that the coroner appeared to dismiss arguments during the inquest that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) – the class of drugs which includes Prozac – were not associated with suicide. She said the coroner did not clearly lay out the reasons for his findings or why he favoured some evidence over others, particularly about the drug’s side effects on Toran. “I just don’t feel that it has been thorough,” she said.

Mrs Bradshaw finds it difficult to comprehend that the coroner finds no criticisms of anyone at Takapuna Grammar. “When they called the police on the day before Toran died to report the fight outside the school, they didn’t mention to the police Toran was under the care of mental health services.

// They didn’t call me … I would have thought that might have attracted some comment from the coroner because that was another opportunity that this could have been prevented.”

Torans Mother is speaking at a Public Mental Wealth learning day coming up 29th October. I will post details in the next post, contact Psychiatric survivors if you are interested to attend on 021-206 8759 and on (09) 846-9945

Kehua! by Fay Weldon

In the Weekend Herald this morning there is an interview with Fay Weldon. She has written a new book called “Kehua!” Which sounds interesting and entertaining. A fiction, here is a brief review from a site called www.lovereading.co.uk

Kehua by Fay Weldon
A kehua is a Maori ghost – the wandering dead searching for their ancestral home. Without the proper rituals to send them on their way, kehua are forced to remain on Earth to haunt their relatives. They’re not dangerous, and they even try to help the living, though it’s wise not to listen to them. They tend to get things wrong…In the wake of murder and suicide, a young woman flees New Zealand, hoping to escape the past and find a new life. But the unshriven spirits of the recently departed can’t rest peacefully, and are forced to emigrate with her, crossing oceans to finally settle in – of all places – Muswell Hill, London. Here their shadowy flutterings and murmured advice haunts the young woman and her female bloodline across the decades, across the generations. ‘Run!’ the Kehua whisper. ‘Run, run, run!’

Here is an excerpt from the interview with Fay Weldon from the Weekend Herald NZ.

Weldon is unsure when she first became aware of the existence of kehua. ” I have a Maori daughter in law and she has never mentioned them,” she says. “I must have read about them somewhere and then they came to mind when I was thinking about the story of the New Zealand family who have come over here and have this impulse to run.

I was wondering what caused that and perhaps it was the spirits of the country, the kehua. I then became interested in the sense of family and belonging, which is very important and strong in Maori Culture. At the beginning, this family have lost that feeling but they come to realise that there is a family that you belong to whether you like it or not, which is quite a compelling and comforting idea.

She compares the kehua to similar phenomena is other mythologies, such as the Scottish kelpies, the Greek furies, and the hungry ghosts of Chinese folklore. “in the novel, they’re the grateful dead, the dybbuks,” says Weldon, who suggests that they may be psychological manifestations of past traumas. “you can give them a name, call them spirits or ghosts, but they really are compulsions, which follow families through generations. All cultures have that. In England they tend to be domestic ghosts in old houses, this house being the house in the book.

Fay Weldons book  Kehua! is out now through Corvus.

 

Anger at police after Aborigine dies in hospital- NZ Herald Aug 5 2010

This is a sad and disturbing article. A man tries to get help and ends up dead. With no questioning of witnesses? Why not?

The original article can be found on the NZ herald site here

Police investigating the death of a mentally ill Aboriginal man in a Queensland hospital failed to interview staff who physically restrained him before he suffered respiratory failure.

An autopsy has established that Lyji Vaggs, 27, suffered asphyxia after being handcuffed, held down and injected with anti-psychotic drugs in Townsville Hospital in April.

But according to the Australian newspaper yesterday, none of the six to eight hospital orderlies and security officers who restrained him have been questioned by detectives.

It has also emerged that the hospital has no CCTV footage of the incident.

Vaggs’ family are dismayed by the way he was treated, and by the police handling of the case. His aunt Gracelyn Smallwood, a leading indigenous activist and an associate professor of nursing, has compared it to the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Queensland’s Palm Island, which was followed by a botched police investigation.

//

“When I heard of Lyji’s death, the first thing I did was pray to God that nothing was covered up,” she said.

“We didn’t want key witnesses not interviewed, or security videos suddenly not being available – and what do we get? It is just so disappointing for Aboriginal people seeking justice and answers that this is the result we get all the time.”

According to the Australian, the post mortem examination found that “restraint asphyxia” contributed to the death of Vaggs, a father of three who suffered from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.

The day before he died, he tried several times to admit himself to hospital, saying he was “hearing voices”, but was allegedly told there were no beds and he should go home and take his medication.

When he became agitated, hospital staff called police, who handcuffed him. While being held face down on the floor, Vaggs became “limp and lifeless”, and although he was revived, he had suffered irreversible brain damage. His life-support machine was switched off the next day.

A police report to the state coroner says no hospital staff have been interviewed apart from the doctor who administered the injections, for “privacy reasons” or because they were “unavailable to be spoken to”.

By Kathy Marks 

 

Should Suicide be reported in the media?

There has been a lot of discussion about this in the media lately. Should it be reported. Many families would like it to come out in the open. to be reported, so that people can learn more about it. So that families can see the warning signs and learn what they may be able to do to help a loved one , family or friend if it happens.

There was an interesting article in the NZ Herald today about this. Written by a mother of a young man who commited suicide- Sally Fisher. You can see the whole article here on the NZ Herald website

Here is an excerpt: 

“Suicide is a devastating, tangible measurement of the ultimate failure of our mental health services.

I believe that with adequate, equitable services and education, many of these suicides are preventable. A reduction of these figures will reflect an improvement of overall care.

Society rationalises its guilt over these deaths by associating them with negative labels such as drug taking and schizophrenia, although a high proportion of such deaths have no such associations.

All of us have the potential to become suicidal given the wrong set of circumstances, although people have different thresholds as with other illnesses. Ideology drives that these deaths are inevitable and unpredictable yet advances in knowledge contradict this.

As with all illnesses early intervention makes a huge impact on outcome. Mental illness is just the same. Advancements in knowledge and medication make it imperative that this is instituted so that, as has happened with other illnesses such as asthma, the outcomes are markedly improved.

There is a failure to think of mental illness in the same way as other “physical” illnesses. This detracts from rationale management.

The prime example of this is the ideology that suicide is unpredictable. It is as predictable and preventable as a stroke or heart attack, if the warning signs are acknowledged and acted on. This can be achieved by education.

Although there has been progress in the promotion and recognition and community acceptability of mental illnesses the services to manage them have not been put in place.

In particular, the availability of psychological and healing environments in a holistic sense have been reduced, with an increasing emphasis on drug management which may be inappropriate or detrimental.

I believe that suicide should be discussed and reported.”

I have started a thread on on HVN forum would love to hear what you think?