Categories
Opinion/Commentary

The ‘Religious Discrimination Bill was always an attack on the LGBTQ+ community

Image iStock

The Religious Freedom Bill has been suspended indefinitely. Let’s hope it never sees the light of day.

This has been a big blow to Scott Morrison. It has disappointed conservatives and torn the Liberal National Party (LNP) apart.

The Religious Discrimination Bill has collapsed because it’s true intent has been exposed.

The ‘Folau clause’

This was the first victim of the Religious Discrimination Bill’s collapse.

Israel Folau was a Rugby Union champion who was sacked in 2019 after he repeatedly defied Rugby AustralIa by posting anti – LGBTQ posts on social media.

The last offending post was a paraphrase of modern translations of 1 Corinthians 6:9.

Folau threatened to sue Rugby Australia for religious discrimination. The case was settled outside court and Rugby Australia paid an undisclosed settlement to Folau.

The ‘Folau clause’ would have prevented employees being sacked under similar circumstances.

Citipointe Christian College contract controversy

Image: iStock

About a month ago, Citipointe Christian College in Brisbane came under fire after their enrolment contract that was leaked.

The contract denied the identities of trans and non – binary people. They also listed homosexuality as a sin among bestiality and paedophilia.

This caused fear for LGBTQ+ students. School principal, Brian Melhuran denied that students have been expelled for being LGBTQ+.

A former Citipointe Christian College student also alleged that students were shown a video of a person being beheaded in class as a deterrent to being LGBTQ+. Staff allegedly told students that’s what will happen in Hell.

The backlash against the school has been fierce. A change.org petition calling for a revocation of the contract gained over 150,000 signatures. In contrast, an Australian Christian Lobby petition defending the school has around 41,000 signatures.

As a result, Mulheran finally buckled and the contract was withdrawn.

Citipointe Christian students and Mulheran reported being harassed and receiving sdeath threats. This is NOT OK and shame on those who participate in that behaviour.

Citipointe fiasco causes panic and backflips

Scott Morrison has vowed to close existing loopholes in the Sex Discrimination Acts in numerous States. Currently, religious schools and institutions are exempt from discrimination laws against LGBTQ+ people.

Scott Morrison vowed to protect lesbian and gay students from expulsion from schools.

However, trans, non – binary people and their advocates were left disappointed. Trans and non – binary students were not granted the same protection.

Religious Discrimination Bill was always an anti – LGBTQ Bill

If something positive came out of Citipointe Christian College fiasco, it’s that the cat is out of the bag.

If the Religious Discrimination Bill, people like Brian Mulheran would have been emboldened.

Luckily, enough people saw through the spin. People were willing to stand up against bigotry. And as a part of the LGBTQ+ community, I myself, I want to thank all those who stood up and protected vulnerable people.

Let’s never allow legislation that gives bigotry a foothold. We need to keep up the fight.

Do you agree disagree? Was the Religious Discrimination Act just an excuse to discriminate? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. below.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Christian school backtracks on contract and PM vows change to Religious Freedom bill. A win for the LGBTQ+ community?

Image: iStock

Did Australia see ‘religious freedom’ in action?

Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian College came under fire when they demanded parents of would – be students sign a contract that called homosexual and bisexual ‘acts’ a sin. They also refused to acknowledge the gender identity of a student who was trans or non – binary.

The contract listed homosexuality and bisexuality as ‘sins’, along with bestiality, fornication and incest. Unlike what other reports I’ve seen, no, the contract didn’t liken bestiality, etc with homosexuality and bisexuality.

The backlash

The condemnation was swift and fierce. A petition calling to recall the contract gained over 150,000 signatures. This is in contrast with an Australian Christian Lobby petition defending the school, which got around 30,000 signatures.

Pastor and Principal, Brian Mulheran dug his heels in, but denied that LGBTQ+ students get expelled for their orientation or gender identity:

While I have been principal at the college, we have not expelled or refused to enrol any student on the basis that they are gay or transgender.

Former students spoke out against the school. One student even alleged a disturbing incident when students saw a video of authorities beheading LGBTQ+ people to act as a deterrent. 

Last Friday, advocates organised a protest at King George Square in Brisbane.

Parents refused to sign contract

Parents told the ABC in an article that they refused to sign the contract. They condemned the college of discriminating against students on the basis of religion, as well as gender and sexuality. 

They argued that the contract violated Christian values. That depends on how you define ‘Christian values”. Do you define “Christian values” based on the Golden Rule? Or a modern loose interpretation on a handful of passages in the Bible? Pastor Mulheran apparently defines it by the latter.

The problem with ‘just go to another school’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned discrimination against LGBTQ+ students. He even vowed that the pending Religious Discrimination Bill will actually protect LGBTQ+ students.

He has also promised that he’ll try and reverse anti – discrimination exemptions that are in place in a number of Australian States and Territories. 

These ‘promises’ have faced opposition among the Liberal/ National Party members.

One common argument against protections is that parents should ‘just look for another school’.

There are a few problems with this. Citipointe Christian College is K – 12. Children may not realise their LGBTQ+ by the time they are four or five. 

Some don’t know exactly what their sexuality or gender identity is until years later. So, if a student, who has been at Citipointe Christian College from Kindergarten, realise they may be gay at sixteen, what, should they just leave? It doesn’t make sense. Put the onus on schools, not parents or students.

 

Schools need to be inclusive

I’ve written before about my struggle with my sexuality when I was at school. It was hard to admit I was struggling with my sexuality in school. And I was offered nothing but support.

I’d hate to think how it would’ve been if the school wasn’t supportive. This is why I strongly believe that all schools should be welcoming and accepting of all students. They need to be a safe place for students, especially if they are not supported by parents or caregivers. Discrimination against students can’t be tolerated.

Latest updates

Pastor Mulheran released an ‘apology’ of sorts. There have been calls for him to resign. He is currently taking leave. It’s not known when/ if he’ll return. 

In Parliament, the Religious Discrimination Act and discrimination act exemptions are being debated.

My take? Scrap the exemptions and forget the Religious Discrimination Act. Discrimination against LGBTQ+ people was always the aim of the Religious Discrimination Act.

What do you think of Citipointe Christian College or the Religious Discrimination Act debate? Feel free to put your thoughts (respectfully) in the comments below.

Categories
Media

Wiggles’ cover receives mixed reactions

The Wiggles perform8ng ‘Elephant’ on Triple J’s Hottest 100

Children’s entertainment group, The Wiggles topped Triple J’s Hottest 100 last year.

They covered Tempest Impaler 2012 song, Elephant.

In case you’re wondering, this is the original:

 

 

‘Blue Wiggle’, Anthony Field admitted that if ot was up to him, they probably woukdn’ymt have done the song:

As an older guy, I would have said, you know, ‘Let’s do Easybeats’ ‘Friday on My Mind’.

Anthony Field after Triple J Hottest 100 victory

Personally, I thought The Wiggles did a good job. The bass isn’t as heavy as in original. But it’s still catchy. 

However, Triple J audience’s choice hasn’t been without controversy.

The result received backlash

From what I have read, people weren’t happy for two reasons. 

According to The Australian, some listeners took it as a joke.

One social media user didn’t like the winning song came out in 2012:

Ah yes, the hottest song…of 2012. Except it’s worse now.

Other artists that made the Top 100 included: Kid Laroi (real name Charlton Howard), Spacey Jane and Ocean Alley. 

Reasons why listeners found the result problematic

Luke Gurgis from The Industry Observer outlined the problems with the result. These were:

  1. The Wiggles are already established and not underdogs: I get this one. The Wiggles are a much – loved band around the world. At least traditionally, Triple J has been the home for the up – and – coming artists. Not those who are already mainstream.
  2. It wasn’t a ‘protest vote’: I think this relates to the first point. The Wiggles are mainstream. 
  3. It wasn’t satire: I didn’t know it had to be? I get that The Wiggles stayed true to the original. So, no, it wasn’t satire.
  4. Emotional votes don’t make sense: The article argued that the Gen Y voters who grew up with The Wiggles couldn’t have been an emotional vote, since the majority of the original members had left the band
  5. It robbed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists: Yeah, I can see that. 

Did Triple J pick favourites?

I wrote in my first Patron – only post that The Wiggles were bought by the ABC back in the early 1990’s.

Triple J is one of the radio stations owned by the ABC.

Gurgis said The Wiggles’ win was a “great outcome for the ABC”.

The Like A Version (when artist makes unique covers of others’ songs) “stunt” benefited Triple J (and the ABC). 

The video of the song has already been viewed 3.7 million times as of today (26 January AEST).

So is it only a coincidence that a band kick – started by the ABC won? I’m not sure. To be honest, I don’t blame anyone for having their suspicions.

Maybe listeners wanted nostalgia

I’m guessing most Triple J listeners are of my era (Gen Y). We grew up listening to The Wiggles. Heck, that was the first band I saw live when I was about four!

While on

Y one original member remains, maybe hearing The Wiggles perform may still have been nostalgic. In the current situation, maybe that’s what people need.

What do you think? Do you like The Wiggles’ cover? Should have they won Triple J’s Hottest 100? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Hillsong slammed for concert in the middle of pandemic

Hillsong Church
Image: iStock

Australian music artists have condemned Hillsong for a concert at a youth camp. At the camp, around 200 people were singing without masks. The camp took south of Newcastle last Thursday.

Artist, Catherine Alcorn condemned the event as a “complete slap in the face” and a  “disgrace” on Sky News Australia.

However, despite the controversy, the New South Wales police didn’t fine Hillsong. 

Hillsong has issued an apology, but has also claimed that covid protocols were in place. 

Youth at a worship concert
Image: iStock

 

 

Australian artists express outrage over camp

The Australian music industry has taken a major hit the past two years. This year, organisers cancelled Grapevine Gathering in the Hunter Valley.

It isn’t surprising artists were outraged over Hillsong’s camp and their special treatment.

Country singer Troy Cassar – Daley expressed outrage on social media:

While all other music festivals are heading down the toilet same as last year, Hillsong are no masks, singing and dancing like we’ve all been told not to do. 

Montaigne accused the New South Wales government of double standards.

Governments give churches special treatment

Technicalities aside, one thing seems clear here. Hillsong have been given special treatment. And they (as well as other churches), have received special treatment for years. 

The most obvious, is the tax exemptions. And while, yes, many churches do charity work and work with limited resources, Hillsong should be treated as a business. I’m sorry, but they should be.

Over the years, Australian churches and church – run institutions such as schools, have been exempt from sections of laws such as the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.

Sections 37 and 38 of the Sex Discrimination Act allow Christian organisations the right to refuse to employ or fire openly LGBTQ+ people if in “good faith”.

Is it any wonder why religious organisations flout rules and laws? From anti – discrimination, to covid restrictions? 

Jesus didn’t bend public rules

Before people come on here and slam me for “persecuting Christians” (I am one, by the way), let me just say this.

While Jesus was on earth, he didn’t advocate for anyone to flout the law. He demanded that his followers pay taxes. And they were under Rome.

Not once did he seek special favours from the government (again, they were under Rome).

Do you think he would have breached — or at least arrogantly taken advantage of grey areas in safety protocol? I can’t see it myself.

True worship

True worship happens in the heart. It happens in Spirit. True worship doesn’t demand that we take the law into our own hands. It doesn’t require us to expose loopholes in health mandates.

 

Christians should be a beacon of God’s light. And, yes, plenty of them are. However, it’s a shame that too often, scandals and law – bending are what Christians known for. Let’s reverse it. Go back to shining Christ’s light again. Within restraints of the law and to an extent, public expectations.

What do you think? Was Hillsong in the wrong? Should have they been fined? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

A – League player condemns homophobic abuse

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A – League player, Josh Cavallo publicly spoke out about homophobia he experienced while playing against Melbourne Victory last weekend. Spectators abused him while he was on the field and on Instagram.

He described the events as “disappointing”.

He also attacked Instagram for not doing enough to combat abuse.

To @instagram, I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages I’ve received.

He went on:

I knew truly being who I am that I was going to come across this. It’s a sad reality that your platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.

Football community offer support to Cavallo 

Luckily, Cavallo has received a lot of support within the sporting community.

When addressing the bullying, Australian Professional Leagues (APL) chief executive, Danny Townsend promised that the league would “issue sanctions to any people found to be involved”. 

Additionally, Melbourne Victory also vowed to work with Adelaide United and others to stamp out abuse. 

Lastly, PFA co – chief executives Beau Busch and Kathryn Gill condemned the abuse as “abhorrent” and “illustrated their [the bullies’] cowardice”.

Professional Football’s mixed history with the LGBTQ+ community

Australian football codes has a mixed history with LGBTQ+2 rights.

NRL player Ian Roberts was the first player to come out as gay in 1995. Unfortunately, he became a victim of a violent homophobic hate crime. 

In 2010 former Western Bulldogs champion, Jason Akermanis said that footballers shouldn’t come out as gay. He said he didn’t want gay footballers hitting on other men in the change rooms. He denied that he was homophobic.

Even if Akermanis didn’t intend to be homophobic, I think most people can agree that his comments were ignorant. It isn’t as if lesbian, gay, bi and homoromantic people hit on all members of the same – sex that they see. But I digress…

In 2015, the AFL premiered Pride Round. This was to commemorate the coming out of former footballer, Jason Ball back in 2012. The Sydney Swans and St. Kilda Saints battle each other in the Pride Round each year. 

The National Rugby League (NRL) have also publicly supported the LGBTQ+ community. 

On NRL’s website, they have a page openly supporting the LGBTQ+ community. The league claims that they are:

…proud to participate in Pride In Sport (PIS) Index; a recenlty established benchmarking instrument designed to measure and advise on the creation of inclusive and equitable environments for LGBTI players…

Is football still victim of macho culture?

Professional sport, especially football, has come a long way in LGBTQ+ inclusion. But old habits die hard. 

Even though same – sex marriage was legalised in Australia in 2017, it seems some people still have potentially outdated views about football, gender and sexuality. 

The football codes still have to be wary of largely outdated views on masculinity. Yes, gay, bi and pansexual men are ‘macho’ enough to play football, regardless of code. 

Also, why is someone’s sexuality a determinant on whether or not someone can play sport? Isn’t that what critics are always saying? To keep sexuality out of the public/ work, etc?

Yet, it’s critics that complain and harass LGBTQ+ public figures. It’s the trolls and bullies that keep shining a spotlight on a person’s personal life. Leave LGBTQ+ alone! It’s that simple!

YOU keep out of other people’s bedroom. YOU stop gawking when a same – sex couple hold hands or *gasp* kiss. And mind your own business. 

If you are LGBTQ+ and are struggling mentally, you can contact QLIfe on 1800 184 527 or their web chat

 

 

 

 

Categories
Media

AFLW’s Darcy Vescio comes out as non – binary: the daunting nature of sharing your identity on social media

Rainbow trans/ gender non - binary symbol
Image/ iStock

AFLW’s Darcey Vescio came out as non – binary.

The Carlton player revealed their gender identity. They came out on Twitter and Instagram. 

After posting a video, Vescio wrote:

Just popping in to let you know I am non – binary.

They went on:

Sharing this feels a bit daunting, but brings me a lot of warmth and happiness. 

Vestio’s revelation has been met with support from public figures, such as AFLW player, Lily Mithen and dissability advocate, Carly Findlay. 

AFLW’s Gold Coast Suns player, Tori Groves – Little has also come out as non – binary.

Revealing yourself online can be nerve – wracking

Over eight years ago, when I started blogging, I wrote about asexuality and LGBTQ+ issues. 

When I wrote about and analysed news and opinion or a researched piece, I was fine. 

However, it was nerve – wracking when I wrote something that hit close to home. When I wrote one blog post in particular (it was about the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Intersexism), I was too nervous to think straight.

Coming out and invalidation

I can’t say whether or not Vescio felt the same way. But the experience makes me respect those like them that do come out publicly. Especially since gender non – binary people are often invalidated, (much like asexual people were). 

Whenever trans or non – binary people are on the news or social media, more often than not, there are invalidating comments. Things along the lines that non – binary people are either male or female, want to be special, yadda, yadda. 

Very similar things that asexual people faced in the early 2010’s. Here’s the thing. no matter how many times you tell a non – binary person that they are male for female, it won’t change how they intrinsically feel. 

Likewise, if you tell a bisexual people to ‘pick a side’ or an asexual person that they are faking/ they are straight, etc, it doesn’t change how they feel. It doesn’t change who they intrinsically are.

Herald Sun should be commended for its reporting

There are so many criticisms that can be made about mainstream media outlets. 

However, Grace Baldwin from Herald Sun did a great job at reporting Vescio’s coming out. 

Baldwin respected Vescio’s pronouns throughout the article. It was free of invalidation. 

The article offered further information on what non – binary means, which I thought that was great.

There are non – binary people who’s identity may fluctuate or exist in the male/ female spectrum.

There are other non – binary people who don’t identify within the binary (agender) or consider themselves neutral. Vescio identifies with the latter.

The more non – binary come out, the more acceptance there’ll be (hopefully)

Like asexuality, I hope that non – binary people will be embraced like others in the LGBTQ+ community. 

I hope that there comes a time when non – binary people will feel comfortable coming out. They should be free to live their lives without discrimination.

We’re not there yet. But if newspapers like Herald Sun can cover stories of non – binary people with integrity and respect, I think we are moving in the right direction. 

Categories
Life

There’s conflicting advice on sleep. So what’s true?

Young woman sleeping on a bed on her back
Image: iStock

Sleep is vital for health. Everyone needs adequate, quality sleep. According to Healthline, effects from a lack of quality sleep can include:

  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Various mental health problems (irritability, depression, anxiety, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts)
  • Weakened immune system, which can affect a person’s ability to ward off illnesses
  • Increased risk of chronic conditions, such as diabetes mellitus and heart disease
  • A vulnerable respiratory system. This leaves a person more susceptible to the flu and common colds
  • Weight gain and obesity

Is going to bed earlier healthier?

Although effects of a lack of sleep seem clear cut, the ‘right time’ is not.

Last week, The Australian published an article suggesting that going to bed earlier can have health benefits. The ideal bedtime is between 10 to 10.59 pm.

Going to bed at midnight or later may increase a person’s risk of heart disease by 25%.

According to lecturer, Dr. David Plans, the reason seems to be our 24-hour body clock.

Our study indicates that the optimum to go to sleep is at a specific point in the body’s 24-hour cycle and deviation may be detrimental to health.

Dr. Plans said that the riskiest time to go to bed is after midnight, as it decreased the body’s likelihood of seeing morning light.

Independent researcher, Dr. Neill Stanley blamed later bedtimes on modern lifestyle.

Like Dr. Plans, Dr. Stanley also advocates for people going to bed at a regular and earlier time. It’s suggested that going to bed even ten minutes earlier can increase health.

According to a large study by researchers at the University of Colorado going to bed an hour earlier may decrease a person’s risk of depression by 23%. This finding was published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal.

There is a physical affect of going to bed earlier. A late night may result a rise in blood pressure that carries on to the next day.

So, it seems quite clear cut. Going to be earlier and at a regular time increases both physical and mental health. Well, maybe… but maybe not.

Are bedtime needs determined by biology?

A dark-skinned sleeping baby
Image: iStock

A 2019 article from the ABC website drew different conclusions.

Health psychologist from Sleep Health Foundation, Moira Junge claimed that the ideal bedtime was a ‘myth’.

Dr. Junge said:

It’s a vague science to prescribe a bedtime for people.

Glorica Micic from the Adelaide Institute of Sleep Health at the Flinders University agreed.

She suggested that if people didn’t have commitments and could go to bed when tired, times will vary from person to person.

However, most people were believed to fall into a pattern. Most people fell asleep between 9 pm and midnight and wake up at 6 – 7 am.

Dr. Junge and Dr Micic advised to go to bed when you’re tired. They advised against going to bed earlier.

It’s possible to adjust a person’s sleeping and waking times slightly, often with professional help.

 

So, what’s the truth? Did Dr. Stanley and Dr. Plans debunk Dr. Junge and Dr. Micic? It’s always possible.

Personally, I can kind of see both arguments. However, I’m more willing to go with Dr. Junge and Dr. Micic. I think ideal bedtimes vary from person to person.

What do you think? Are you a night owl or early bird? Do you think one is better? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

Categories
Media

Britney Spears is free from Conservatorship

People celebrated the freedom of Britney Spears (Image from Sloan video “Britney Spears is FREE! Now What?)

Last week, Britney Spears’ supporters got the news they were all waiting for. After fourteen years, Britney Spears is free from her conservatorship.

According to Sydney Morning Herald, Spears had argued for months that she should be free with her money and assets.

Finally, Judge Brenda Penny ruled in Spears’ favour.

As of today, the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated.

 

In June, Spears spoke passionately at a hearing. She slammed the restrictions against her as “abusive”. Spears demanded that the restrictions end without another mental assessment.

Events started turning in Spears’ favour

Despite scepticism from legal experts, the judge granted Spears the right to choose her own lawyer. Spears chose Matthew Rosengart. This turned out to be a great choice.

Rosengart’s first goal was to have Spears’ father, James Spears, removed from the conservatorship. His next goal was to scrap the conservatorship completely.

Rosengart and his team also investigated James Spears. They found mismanagement of Spears’ finances. He told Britney that she could pursue legal action. He also suggested that the New York Times’ documentary allegations that a listening device was placed in Britney Spears’ room be investigated.

James Spears’ lawyers attacked Rosgengart’s allegations as impossible. They insisted that Mr. Spears had only acted in Spears’ best interests.

Spears’ rights taken away

In 2008, the battle between Britney Spears and her father began.

Spears alleged that her father had forced her into a psychiatric ward. People exaggerated Spears’ mental health symptoms.

Spears also told the court that nurses had invaded her privacy. She alleged that nurses forced her to take Lithium, a medication commonly used to treat bipolar, schizophrenia and depression.

In addition, a judge granted James Spears conservatorship on potentially dubious grounds. The behaviour of the judge was questionable at least.

And the kicker: despite forced psychiatric visits, etc, Mr. Spears still had Britney performing.

Campaigns on social media

YouTuber, Michael Sloan Hooks (aka Sl04n), has tirelessly exposed the corruption behind Spears’ court cases. He also exposed how Spears has been betrayed by her father, sister, Jamie Lynn Spears and former business manager, Lou M Taylor.

#FreeBritney gained momentum on Twitter in 2019. To this day, people are still using the hashtag. Britney has publicly thanked the people behind the #FreeBritney campaign, saying that it saved her life.

An injustice that shouldn’t have happened

I’ve never been a big Britney Spears fan. However, I have followed this fight a bit and am glad that justice for Britney has prevailed.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Britney Spears has been repeatedly exploited and betrayed by those she should have been able to trust.

Claims of her mental health and institutionalisation was a farce. It was used as an excuse to have all her rights and property taken away.

I hope that Britney can live her life in peace, now. I hope she can live her life happily, the way she wants.

 

Have you followed the #FreeBritney movement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

Mental health crisis: ED patients in mental distress say they won’t go back

Emergency Department sign
Image: iStock

 

TW: suicidal ideation, mental health distress. If these issues are triggering for you, please proceed with care. Seek help if you need it.

A mental health not – for – profit conducted a study that had worrying results.

The Black Dog Institute surveyed 911 participants in NSW and the ACT. Almost half of respondents who experienced suicidal distress said they would refuse to return to emergency departments or seek out further treatment.

43.5% of respondents said they wouldn’t seek out help from ED staff if they experienced suicidal distress.

Reasons given included: long delays, incomplete assessments and a lack of resources.

Associate Professor for Black Dog Institute, Fiona Shand outlined problems faced by many professionals and patients:

They know what the problems are, and they want to do more, but the processes and lack of resourcing don’t allow them to spend adequate time with patients or work in the way they would like.

 

A sign of a broken system

A participant from ACT opened up about her harrowing experience. She claimed that she went to the ED for suicidal thoughts in 2019. It exacerbated her anxiety.

Staff fast – tracked her, only to abandon her for hours. She said the experience left her “agitated”. The isolation could’ve been dangerous. When left on her own, she claimed she could leave the facility with no detection, or self – harm.

If this isn’t a sign of a broken system, I don’t know what is. Something needs to change. And it needs to change now.

People with serious mental health issues are being let down

Depressed woman sitting down distressed
Image: iStock

I’ve written before about the need to fix Australia’s mental health system.

I firmly believe that Medicare should cover mental health completely.

For patients who are diagnosed with a severe mental illness, psychology therapies should be free. An example of a country that does this is the UK.

The Government needs to expand Medicare

Why the hell are people with serious mental health issues going to ED? Because people can’t afford psychology appointments?

Will lifting the cap on Medicare reduce the need for ED admissions? Maybe.

However, if suicidal people do appear in ED, doctors and nurses need to know how treat them.

Effects of good mental health

There are reasons why I keep banging on about this. Good mental health means a better society.

If we improved mental health in our society we will improve:

  • Employment prospects: According to Urban Design Mental Health, poor mental health damages a person’s employment prospects. People with mental illnesses are 10 – 15 per cent more likely to be unemployed.
  • Family: When a person has a severe mental illness, family members are most likely to be carers. This can affect the carer’s employment, health, etc.
  • Homelessness: Another issue that people pay lip service to. 30 – 35% of homeless people are seriously mentally ill.

Too many people are literally dying because of poor mental health. More people are suffering in silence or are getting inadequate care. Enough is enough.

If you’re Australian, feel free to sign this petition for mental health to be properly funded under Medicare. 

 

 

 

Categories
Culture Social media

Instagram linked to poor mental health in young people

Instagram app on device
Image: iStock

The Wall Street Journal uncovered troubling findings on the impact Instagram has on teens.

Instagram’s parent company Facebook Inc conducted the research.

One slide from Facebook’s internal message board last year claimed:

Thirty-two percent of teen girls said when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.

Another slide noted:

Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves

Facebook Inc has conducted the research over three years. The consistent findings are worrying.

While not a cause, Instagram has shown to exacerbate depression, anxiety, eating disorders and suicidal ideation. 13% British and 6% of American teens blamed Instagram for their suicidal ideation.

Facebook CEO and Head downplay the findings

Not surprisingly, Facebook Inc has downplayed worrying findings.

Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg argued:

The research that we’ve seen is that social apps to connect with other people can have positive mental-health benefits.

Likewise, Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri has also minimised the findings, claiming size of the issue was “quite small”.

Instagram banks on young people

Young people are abandoning Facebook. They have been for almost a decade. However, the number of young people using Instagram has exploded.

People aged twenty-two and under make up 40% of Instagram’s users. On average, US teens spend 50% more time on Instagram than Facebook.

That’s why Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram’s Head Adam Mosseri has downplayed the alarming research. At a Congressional Hearing in March this year, Zuckerberg argued:

The research that we’ve seen is that using social apps to connect with other people can have mental-health benefits

Mosseri downplayed the issues. He said the extent of the problem was “quite small”.

Of course, Mosseri and Zuckerberg will want to minimise links between Facebook, Instagram and youth mental health. Young people on Instagram have become their cash cow.

Instagram and the exploitation of underage children

Canadian Youtuber and podcaster, Josh Barbour is vocal against influencers who exploit children. His campaign was triggered by Myka and James Stauffer’s adoption and ‘rehoming’ of a Chinese child. (I’m not going to use the name the Stauffers gave him).

The case exploded Barbour’s channel, The Dad Challenge Podcast. Since then, Barbour has exposed a whole underbelly of child exploitation on social media.

Piper Rockelle and Liliana K

Two revolting instances of children being exploited on Instagram are Liliana Ketchman (aka Liliana K) and Piper Rockelle.

 

I remember when I saw his video on Ketchman, her account was mass reported. Liliana was underage (twelve, I think). Unfortunately, Instagram refused to take the account down. Reason? Her ‘mother’ (I use that term loosely) ran the account.

I was infuriated. I seriously thought about deleting my Instagram accounts.

A few months later, Barbour exposed the exploitation of Piper Rockelle. Unlike Liliana K, Rockelle was over the age limit (she was fourteen, I think).

The images are beyond revolting.

For me, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I deleted both my Instagram accounts. Please note,  I don’t begrudge those who still have an Instagram account.

However, if people delete their accounts in revolt, I’m all for it. People should hold Facebook Inc accountable.

Platforms like YouTube and Instagram are potentially putting children in danger. The full impact on child influencer culture is yet to be seen.

 

I’ll be fair to Mark Zuckerberg for a second. Do I believe that he  deliberately created Instagram to exploit children? No. But he is responsible. And Facebook Inc is failing a whole generation.

I’m passionate about mental health. I think that mental health care, especially therapies, should be free for clients. If you feel the same consider signing the Green’s petition hereYou can also write to your MP.