Archives for posts with tag: mental-health

We are very much aware of how our physical environment affects our lifestyle, particularly our health, but this is not the only environment that affects us. Last week we had mental health awareness week in which people with various forms of mental illness spoke about the effects their illness had on them and their lives. This was great as it made us more aware of the problems connected with this unseen illness.
Is this enough? We are told that the rate of mental illness, particularly depression, is rising at previously unrecorded levels. When the rate of respiratory illness rises we automatically look towards the quality of the air we are breathing. One of the motivators to get rid of smog is the effect it will have on the health of the population. Might depression have a similar contributory cause?
I can’t help wondering why we don’t look for a cause with this current increase in mental health problems. We know that the media now reaches more people than ever before and more quickly. Why doesn’t anyone connect the two? The fact that we get news almost instantaneously makes it even more potent. If something really good happens and we become aware of it almost straight away it can brighten our day because the fact that it has just happened makes it more realistic. Something that happened a few days or several weeks ago seems less real to us, less part of our lives.
If we have this approach then what we see on the daily news becomes a much more important part of our lives. The trouble is that what we see is usually not good news, with constant shootings and murder. I would like to see producers of news, whether it be radio or television or newspapers look at what they are producing with fresh eyes. How many ‘bad’ news stories are there compared with ‘good’ ones? There seem to be very few of the latter.
I would love to see news program producers in any form make sure that they have at least one good news story with every edition of a bulletin. Would this have any effect on the level of depression so many people suffer from? Surely it would be worth a try? Would we have the same level of depression in the community if we were made aware that we actually live in a loving caring world in which we matter?

Yesterday I attended a conference mainly with older people to discuss ‘Living wills’ through which we can determine how much medical intervention we want if we become incapacitated. Personally I just want to be left to die in peace without having tubes, or worse, pushed into my orifices! My argument is that at nearly 76 I’ve had a good run and being forced to extend it, probably distressingly, is not what I would want.
It’s important that our relatives know of our wishes if we are not capable of saying what we want. My son asked if my refusal also applied to mouth to mouth resuscitation. I had a second think about that and decided if it was being done by a nice young, handsome gentleman I’d make an exception!
This is a really important issue as prolonging life when it is no longer viable takes up a lot of our precious health dollars. The cost of patients in intensive care runs to many thousands of dollars a day.
The issue is really important but by lunch time I had had enough. We were seated at small tables and the others all seemed to be people who were just filling in time in their lives. As a result they didn’t seem to have much that was worthwhile to say but since they had an opportunity with a captive audience they were determined to have their say.
This seems to happen whenever older people are consulted. A couple of years ago a forum was held by the local government for older people in this area. Once again the ‘has beens’ held the floor and not much has changed.
We need to make changes in our society as the population ages but nothing will change if the only people who are consulted are those who have dropped out of the workforce and are not doing much in their lives. We need to promote the idea that this is not a desirable or healthy way to age. Just because we get older it doesn’t mean that we are no longer capable of achieving. That’s the easiest way for our brains to deteriorate. It also means that we aren’t capable of creating the optimum conditions in which to age. After all we are the first generation for which ageing in the traditional sense covers several decades. We need to create an appropriate society not just for ourselves but for those who come after us.