Remove mental health stigma
South West Healthcare's Karen Cook (The Standard, 26 June) has drawn our attention to the crying need for beds available for mental health patients in crisis. She also points out the reluctance of men in particular to seek help early.
Ms Cook's plea rings true, sadly, for us at the Let's Talk Foundation. Our experience tells us that the biggest barrier to people seeking help with their mental health issues is the stigma that persists to this day.
We don't yet know the full impact that COVID-19 will have on us as a community, but we do know that mental ill health is going to be an even bigger problem in the coming months than it is now.
That means even more people struggling to cope with their demons in silence. That means even more people feeling alone in their pain. That means even more people feeling ever distant from a positive future full of hope and optimism.
These people are in our workplaces. Our schools. Our sporting clubs. Our friendship circles. Our families.
Help us at Let's Talk to remove the stigma around mental health. Encourage those around you to talk openly about this incredibly common issue. Talk about mental health just as readily as you do other health issues. Reach out to those you care about who you think might be in pain.
This is the only way we will reduce that desperate need for acute mental health beds for those in crisis.
Michael Hoffman, LETS TALK Foundation, Warrnambool
Staff survey squabble
A WCC staff survey was
conducted in April 2018. About half of WCCs staff responded to the
survey and the results, which were leaked on social media, showed that the council had gone backwards on every key measure over the previous four years
since the last survey.
It is clear that anything the council might have
tried to improve in these areas since 2014 had failed or was inadequate. According
to the leaked results of the 2018 survey, 12 issues emerged as significant
areas of dissatisfaction in 2018 compared to only two in 2014.
Then, as now, WCC did not release details of this survey to
the public. It seems that the council only released broad outcomes to the staff
in 2018 and advised the public only that council had sound processes in place
to address any issues or concerns staff may have.
Now, again in 2020 we
have the same issue.
Council will not release the results of the 2020
survey as they are confidential but, despite this, have engaged in a public
squabble over whether to release very little or nothing at all on this latest
We have no reason to be satisfied and do our councillors care how council staff is feeling right now. Our councillors don't seem to be too
concerned about anything except their electoral fortunes.
Jim Bourke, Warrnambool
Audio recording needed
Earlier this year the state Labor government reviewed, debated and then Parliament enacted changes to the Local Government Act 2020. This act legally states how council's must govern for the citizens they were elected to represent.
During the debate one proposal was that council's should not only have an audio recording of meetings but briefings should also be legally required to have an audio record.
This would obviously demonstrate openness, transparency and even accountability and would also be vital if in the future council's were involved in litigation due to decisions made or not made on behalf of its citizens.
There would be a clear record of any item of concern. The actions of senior officers and councillors would be clear to all.
Peter Hulin, Warrnambool
Call to stop logging
We are the authors of multiple peer-reviewed studies on ecology and bushfire science, and the clear and overwhelming evidence is that logging makes forest more flammable.
Four peer-reviewed, published scientific studies from four institutions in six years have made this finding, as have multiple scientific reviews.After logging, increased sunlight dries out the forest floor, the wind speed on hot days increases because of the lack of a tree canopy and fans any bushfires, and potentially thousands of fast-growing saplings per hectare increases the fuel for a fire to burn.
Only one major piece of work, funded by the logging industry and co-authored by logging industry employees, argued differently. It was immediately discredited in a peer-reviewed paper by two of Australia's most respected fire scientists, Bradstock and Price, who said the logging industry piece had misrepresented their data.
Climate change is making Australia more vulnerable to bushfire, and the evidence is that logging forests makes things worse.
Jen Sanger, Mount Nelson, on behalf of Dr Phil Zylstra , Dr Jennifer Sanger, Dr Chris Taylor, Dr Robert Kooyman, and Professor James Watson.
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