Please note there is discussion that may trigger distress. If at risk of depression or been a victim of sexual assault, don't bother reading or if fragile, please always reach out for help. Lifeline 13 11 14 (or 000 in an emergency). Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636, Reach Out , Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467, 1800Respect or NSW Rape Crisis Centre 1800 424 017.
I still tend to think of us, Australians, as a happy go lucky people, very laidback and full of fun. In the last month, I've read three statistics that have made me question this belief. The three were not related - once came from a book on education, another from an article on comedy and I've forgotten where I read the third but lumped together, it's quite a disturbing portrait.
We (Australia) have the highest rate of reported sexual assault (presuming per capita), the highest per capita prescriptions for anti depressants, and the highest rate of suicide (also presuming per capitia) in the world.
We live in an affluent society, there is welfare and in theory a safety net. We have good weather, with plenty of sunshine. We are not at war. I would have thought our violent crime was low (but evidently I was wrong, depending on your definition of violent crime, as I would count sexual assault as a violent crime, but maybe it just means murder?). It is not a crime to be in the LBGTQI community - though I acknowledge we clearly are more backward in marriage equality than we should be, I would have thought most people come out to acceptance rather than thrown out of home etc (but maybe I'm naive?). We have relatively low unemployment. We have government supported healthcare (though shame on you Liberal Government for pulling that apart - and in view of this post, especially in the area of mental health).
So what is going wrong?
And more importantly, how do we fix it?
There are plenty of ad campaigns on mental health and violence against women. The government clearly recognises there is a problem. But as with all things, the best way to fix a problem is to change the environment so the outcome is different. Treat the cause, not the symptoms.
I don't have the answers, I am currently reading a number of books to try and understand what I see as a pandemic of Anxiety in young people (teens). Where have we gone wrong? When did we stop being the happy people and become the nation that is limping through life, trying to keep it together?
I'm after any feedback or ideas you may have. Please feel free to leave your opinion, even if not based in science or research.
I believe we can change this. I believe it is our responsibility to do so. As always, we can do better, we must do better.
A very incomplete post for #MummyMondays and #OpenSlather