Daily News - Thursday 21 August 2014

Posted 21 August 2014 7:53am
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'Harsh' welfare changes are the most significant in 20 years, inquiry told
Bridie Jabour, The Guardian

Welfare groups told the Senate community affairs committee they were taken aback by how “harsh” the budget was and believed it would be more balanced.

Gerard Thomas from National Welfare Rights Network (NWRN) said the bills contained “the most significant change to social security in one bill I’ve witnessed in 20 years”.

 

How To Get From Welfare To Work Without Punishing The Poor
Julie Edwards, New Matilda

... the reality is that many recipients of welfare in Australia are not work-ready people who simply lack the motivation to go out and find a job. Rather the current welfare safety net supports a small proportion of our community, including many people with complex needs.

This includes many of the people Jesuit Social Services works with who experience mental illness, alcohol and drug problems, homelessness, the impacts of family violence, trauma, and neglect, and the absence of family and community connections.

 

Psychiatrists reject plan for mental health curbs on disability support pension
Judith Ireland, The Age

The peak body representing Australian psychiatrists has rejected the proposal that only people with a ''permanent impairment'' should get the disability support pension, saying the plan fails to understand the nature of mental illness.

 

College of psychiatrists urges caution on income management
Royal Australian and News Zealand College of Psychiatrists, submission (pdf)

The Royal Australian and News Zealand College of Psychiatrists suggests that denying access to things considered harmful such as alcohol or tobaccoo, rather than giving people the tools to make healthier choices is not consistent with the early intervention or capacity-building approach that the Interim Report promotes.

Further, for many people with mental health issues, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs are often used in an attempt, either knowingly or unknowlingly , to mitigate the often huge emotional paid encourtgered when living with a disability. To remove these 'crutches' without the requisite rehabilitation and education could be harmful. This would be even more serious for people with an alcohol or other drug dependency and for whom an unsupervised withdrawal from their substance of dependence could be dangerious and, in extreme cases, fatal.

 

Depression, illnesses, exhaustion killing miners in Western Australia
Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining

The recent deaths of nine West Australian fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers who took their own lives has put the issue of living conditions and depression in the mining industry back in the spotlight.

According to The Australian, suicide is the single largest killer of people aged 15 to 44 years old, while the average age of a FIFO worker is 38.

Experts point to a male-dominated culture, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as a low emotional capacity to work through problems as key reasons why these workers are at risk.

 

FIFO probe: WA parliamentary inquiry to examine spate of suicides among fly-in, fly-out workers
Jacob Kagi, ABC

A Western Australian parliamentary committee will examine a spate of suicides among fly-in, fly-out workers, after the idea received unanimous support by MPs

 

How Much Did the Stigma of Mental Illness Harm Robin Williams?
Maia Szalavitz, Pacific Standard

Addiction treatment routinely fails people with mental illnesses, while mental health care often ignores addiction. And everywhere, stigma is rife. Can a tragic death prompt a more intelligent approach?

 

The Power of Oldness
Australian Association of Gerontology

A new video awareness campaign aimed at highlighting the value of older workers was launched at the Australian Human Rights Commission in Sydney on Monday by Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz, Minister for Employment and the Hon. Susan Ryan AO, Age Discrimination Commissioner

The campaign celebrates older Australians and is a call to action to the community to address age discrimination.

 

Begging fines making matters worse for Melbourne's homeless, youth service says
Clare Rawlinson, ABC

A clinic for homeless people in Melbourne says the city’s homelessness problem is being exacerbated by police issuing fines for people begging for money.

Youth Projects says it has had increasing reports from clients being fined for begging, with some claiming their money has been taken by police as “proceeds of crime” and put into charity boxes.

 

Five reasons why the government's $200 marriage vouchers haven't worked
Jen Vuk, Daily Life

Earlier this year, the Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews announced a homely $20 million scheme that would tackle our “costly” divorces and potentially save the government money by dangling in front of Australian couples a carrot to the value of $200.

And how have Australian couples repaid the love since the 1 July roll-out of the Stronger Relationships Trial? Well, by not exactly setting the world on fire, according to the Department of Social Services’ own figures, which show that only around 1,830 of its 100,000 counselling vouchers have been taken up by Australian couples so far.

 

In Relationships, Be Deliberate
Emily Esfahani Smith and Galena Rhoades, The Atlantic

If two people are dating, living in the same city, spending most nights of the week together, and are moving toward marriage, doesn’t it make sense to just move in together, and save a little money? Most couples say yes. Though traditional wisdom holds that cohabiting is a bad idea—and historically it has indeed been associated with a higher risk of divorce—moving in together before marriage is the norm among couples today.

But before couples sign a lease together, they would do well to ask themselves: Did we slide into the decision to move in together or did we decide to cohabit?

 

Study: Bigger Weddings, Fewer Partners, Less ‘Sliding’ Linked to Better Marriages
National Marriage Project, University of Virginia

The more people who attend your wedding to share in the launch of your marriage, the better the chances you will have a happy marriage years down the road. And, counterintuitively, the more relationships you had prior to your marriage, the less likely you are to report a high-quality marriage.

 

Sizing up your friends – the stigma of obesity
Melissa Stoneham, Crikey

Being a teenager, or screenager as we now call them, can be tough. I reflect positively on most of my teenage years and fondly remember many healthy friendships. But like most teenagers, I can certainly recall times when I was left out by my friends.

New research has found that this type of ostracising continues to occur and is prominent in overweight young people. It was found that overweight teens were more likely to be denied friendships from their peers that were of normal weight. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that young people are more likely to socially exclude their peers who are overweight, which makes overweight teenagers on average, have one less friend than those who are considered to be ‘normal weight’.

 

Ignore No More app: Helicopter parenting in the digital age?
Lisa Suhay, Christian Science Monitor

A new app by a Texas mom called “Ignore No More” locks a kid out of his or her phone for not picking up when a parent calls. Perhaps this app should be named “Super Helicopter Parent 2.0.”

If your child won’t pay attention to you, choosing extreme measures may work as a quick fix, but it probably won't help in establishing an ongoing rapport and mutual respect.

 

The Case Against Spanking: It Doesn’t Even Work
Melissa Dahl, New York Magazine

... even a moderate rate of spanking — just once a week — results in some serious consequences for children, harming the child’s mental health and undermining his or her academic performance. “We know that the more corporal punishment there is in the home, the more aggressive the child will be at school,” Kazdin said. What’s more, the stress from corporal punishment could even have a negative impact on a child’s physical health, he said, to the point of weakening the body’s ability to fight inflammation and recover from infection. “Extended stressors in the home, including corporal punishment, can change the immune system and have implications for poorer physical health or earlier death,” he said.

 

Superheroes? None compare to our heroic nuns, the first frontline feminists
Nicholas Kristof, The Canberra Times

In an age of villainy, war and inequality, it makes sense that we need superheroes. And after trying Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, we may have found the best superheroes yet: Nuns.

‘‘I may not believe in God, but I do believe in nuns,’’ writes Jo Piazza, in her forthcoming book, If Nuns Ruled the World. Piazza is an agnostic living in New York City who began interviewing nuns and found herself utterly charmed and inspired.

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