Braver, Stronger Wiser (Depression DVD)

Braver, Stronger, Wiser is a new DVD produced by The Salvation Army that has been designed especially to help people in rural communities recognise and deal with depression.

You can register to receive your FREE Braver, Stronger, Wiser DVD by calling 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or filling in the order form.

The DVD aims both to celebrate the life and resilience of rural Australia, and to help counter disturbing suicide statistics coming out of many farming communities. It shares the stories of four people living in rural and remote Australia who have struggled with - and sought help to manage - various forms of depression.

The DVD features an extensive range of resources including emergency contact numbers, a link to The Salvation Army's Hope for Life online suicide prevention training program, expert advice from Professor Michael Baigent of Beyondblue, and much more.

From mid-December this year, The Salvation Army will freely distribute 500,000 of the DVDs to more than one million rural Australians, including mailing it to 51,000 of Australia's most remote households who have access to few or no medical or counselling services. It will also be distributed through rural GP networks, Salvation Army corps (churches), rural chaplains, 50 rural ABC radio stations, rural postal agencies, and rural Landcare offices.

The Health of the People of New South Wales (Summary Report)

The number of people hospitalised for diabetes over the past 20 years has increased by 160 per cent, the latest report of the NSW Chief Health Officer reveals. It showed that between 1997 and 2007 the percentage of people in NSW aged 16-24 who were obese more than doubled, from 4 per cent to 8.7 per cent. The increase was mainly in young women.

Other health trends in NSW include a significant fall in the levels of risky drinking from 10 years ago (down from 50.4 per cent to 37.2 per cent for men and from 36.3 per cent to 27 per cent for women) as well as smoking rates declining for both men and women by four and 5.9 per cent respectively since 1998.

However, death rates from lung cancer have increased in women since 1997 - for men it dropped by 25 per cent - because smoking rates in women have been declining only for the past 20 years or so.

Suicide rates have also dropped, though mental health is a major priority. About one in six NSW secondary school students reported high levels of psychological distress in 2005.

NSW also had high rates of immunisation: 91.7 per cent of children are now fully immunised, leading to a fall in notifications for diseases including rubella, whooping cough and measles.

The people of New South Wales generally live long and productive lives. A child born in 2006 would now expect to live 79.3 years if male and 84.2 years if female, an increase of just under 3 years since 1997. Australian longevity was third only to Japan and Switzerland in 2006.

This report provides key information on the status of the health of our community, current challenges and inequities and trends in these factors. It provides information to all those working to improve health on the effectiveness of their programs. The report should allow the public to take steps to maintain healthy lives.

This is the seventh report in a series that was first published in 1996. In 2008 the "Summary Report" contains summarised information in tables and graphs on 71 indicators with very little explanatory text. It includes comparisons of key indicators by Health Area, trends over time, an overview of each of the 18 chapters in the e-CHO as well as detailed studies on two special topics. In 2008 these are on "Inequalities in Mortality" and "Childhood overweight and obesity".

National Men's Health Policy

Minister for Health and Ageing The Hon Nicola Roxon has released details of the National Men's Health Policy which is due for release next year.

Discussion and information papers have been released and formal consultations will begin in early 2009.

Discussion papers and details of the consultative process can be downloaded from

go to National Men's Health Policy Resource Kit.

Caring for older Australians at home: new resource for community aged care

A new information resource has been launched to give service providers and care workers a blueprint for providing better care for older people.

The Research to Practice briefings, prepared by The Benevolent Society and the Social Policy Research Centre, aim to bring research evidence to community aged care workers in a user-friendly way, so that they and the older people they work with can benefit from putting evidence into practice.

The first briefing in the series is "Caring for Older Australians: Care workers and care practices that support and enable good care". The second briefing in the series, "Promoting social networks for older people in community aged care" will be released in early 2009. Briefings will be produced 3 times a year in hard copy format and on the internet.

Press Release

Hope, despair and transformation: Climate change and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing

This article aims to provide an introduction to emerging evidence and debate about the relationship between climate change and mental health. The authors argue that:
* the direct impacts of climate change such as extreme weather events will have significant mental health implications;
* climate change is already impacting on the social, economic and environmental determinants of mental health with the most severe consequences being felt by disadvantaged communities and populations;
* understanding the full extent of the long term social and environmental challenges posed by climate change has the potential to create emotional distress and anxiety; and
* understanding the psycho-social implications of climate change is also an important starting point for informed action to prevent dangerous climate change at individual, community and societal levels.

Women and exercise

The Office for Women in the Australian Department of Families, Housing, Community Services, and Indigenous Affairs has just released a report on this topic authored by Professor Wendy Brown, Dr Nicola Burton and Dr Kristiann Heesch, Physical activity and health in mid-age and older women.

The benefits of physical activity are well known and this report found that between 2001 and 2004, the percentage of mid-aged women doing 30 minutes of physical activity on most days rose from 45 to 54 per cent - primarily attributed to walking. Australian guidelines recommend 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week for health benefits. The evidence reviewed in this report suggests that middle-aged or older women gain few, if any, additional health benefits from any more vigorous exercise than this. Interesting.

Reposted from NCAHS Library Clippings

International Program of Psycho-Social Health Research

IPP-SHR is a collaborative initiative jointly funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and CQUniversity. The primary aim of this international program in research is to examine and document the human experience of serious illness (both physical and mental). IPP-SHR is a broad program addressing a wide range of topic areas including: haematology/oncology; mental health; palliative care; acute medicine; bioethics; rural and remote health; Indigenous health; spirituality; paediatrics; birth studies; and service delivery evaluation.
In essence the program is concerned with contributing to the development of psycho-social services that assist people to deal with the many challenges associated with serious physical and/or mental illness. The core work is to *make a difference* and this is achieved through research, publication, education and consultancy activities. On the IPP-SHR website there are Projects, Programs and a large number of podcasts on such topics as Eating Disorders, Early-Stage Alzheimer's Disease, Humour in Critical Care Settings, Drug Administration Errors, Assessing Cardiovascular Risk and Pediatric Pain Management.
Re posted from NCAHS Library Clippings

Australia Measures Up!

A national Measure Up campaign to tackle obesity, and ultimately to save lives, was launched in October as part of the Australian Better Health Initiative - a joint Australian, State, and Territory government program that aims to reduce the prevalence of risk factors for chronic disease, limit the incidence and the impact of these diseases, and reduce morbidity and mortality rates. Measure Up encourages Australians to measure their waists so that they can tell whether they are at risk of developing a lifestyle-related chronic disease.A range of free promotional materials and other resources is available from the website

The State of the World's Children 2008 (UNICEF)

This UNICEF 164-page report looks into the world of children in five chapters : 1. Child Survival: Where we stand ; 2. Lessons learned from evolving health-care systems and practice ; .3 Community partnerships in primary health care for mothers, newborns and children ; 4. Strengthening community partnerships, the continuum of care, and health systems ; 5 Uniting for child survival. Each chapter contains information on child mortality rates around the globe, community public health partnerships, and health care systems in the developing world.

AMA Public Hospital Report Card 2008

The AMA has now released its 2008 public hospital report card in respect of the 2006-07 financial year. This is the second AMA public hospital report card. The last one was issued in October 2007. The report card is based on publicly released information on the performance of public hospitals through the Federal Government's state of our public hospitals report June 2008 and the AIHW's Australian Hospital Statistics 2006-07.

The major issue again this year has been the decline in the Federal Government's share of public hospital funding and the need to establish a proper base level of funding given that 5 yearly renewal of funding is to be ceased. This shortfall in funding is leading to a shortage of beds which is in turn impacting on the ability of public hospitals to meet key performance measures in relation to access to Emergency Department treatments and acute care admissions.

Report card 2008

Media release

First report card 2007

Farmers much more likely to commit suicide: report

This report describes the high rate of suicide among male Australian farmers, which is almost 50 per cent higher than the average in rural communities, according to a study calling for better targetted efforts to treat depression.

Prolonged drought and increasing social isolation are being blamed for new figures showing 34 in every 100,000 male farmers commit suicide, which is significantly up on the 24 per 100,000 among rural men generally.

Ear hotline a success in remote areas

Hearing Australia says more than 100,000 people have called a national telephone hotline (1800 826 500) that diagnoses hearing problems. Managing Director, Steven Grundy says tackling the high level of ear disease in the Aboriginal population of the Northern Territory is a priority for the organisation. Mr Grundy says the hotline was set up for people to test their hearing over the phone and has been a successful way to provide a service to people living in remote and regional areas. "The level of ear disease in the Aboriginal population is much higher than the general population and Hearing Australia is committed to providing quality ehealth care to Indigenous Australians," said Mr Grundy. "This technology includes videotoscopy and videoconferencing and it enables a clinician to conduct appointments without being present with the client and really see more people."

Hostages to men's business

This article describes the ongoing pattern of violence that plagues Aboriginal family and community life, especially - though not exclusively - in remote Australia.
It also focuses on the dysfunctional response of mainstream Australian political institutions to the accelerating crisis in the Aboriginal world.

The Australian Diabetes Map

The Australian Diabetes Map is the only national map monitoring the spread of diabetes in Australia.

The Map uses groundbreaking information technology to present population data about Australians diagnosed with diabetes. It shows the numbers of people diagnosed with diabetes in all parts of Australia with information on age, gender and type of diabetes.

The data in the Map has been sourced from the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) Registrant database. The Map can be searched by state, electorate and postcode and also provides breakdowns by gender, age and type of diabetes.

First Taste : how Indigenous Australians learned about grog

First Taste : how Indigenous Australians learned about grog by Maggie Brady, is a set of 6 booklets aimed at challenging the myths and misconceptions surrounding Indigenous alcohol problems. The history of Indigenous contact with alcohol is examined in a series of short chunks suitable for community education. First set available free. See link for order form.