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The Forum > Article Comments > Mental health, poverty and life expectancy > Comments

Mental health, poverty and life expectancy : Comments

By Tristan Ewins, published 12/10/2015

As Frank Quinlan of the Mental Health Council of Australia argued in 2014, many amongst the mentally ill want to work but cannot do so on account of discrimination.

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Discrimination, discrimination, discrimination. The Murdoch press, the Murdoch press, the Murdoch press. Heard it all before. While it is unfair and sad (in cases where mental health problems are not self-induced) life is not fair: it's just life. But to blame other people, particularly employers, who have enough on their plates these days with oppressive rules and, red tape and regulation, and talk of the 'discrimination of completely innocent 'others', is pointless and self-defeating, as well as irritating and sypmathy-sapping.
Posted by ttbn, Monday, 12 October 2015 8:25:50 AM
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There are mentally ill that want to work but can not get the opportunities to do so. It is a wasted resource, and a cost to society.

The previous government was never going to let this become a problem.

Employers do need some encouragement to make opportunities available, for the mentally ill.

The Turnbull govt; will our best chance to get a package together and get mental illness off of the totally incapacitated list and into the workforce, as a valuable resource.
Posted by doog, Monday, 12 October 2015 11:13:35 AM
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I think anti-discrimination legislation can work in tandem with *positive* incentives for employers to take on people with a mental-illness related disability.

But the article is also about reform of welfare and mental health services.

Finally it is about stigma and scapegoating. (largely by the Murdoch tabloids) And some people may be sick of that criticism - but it finds reflection in fact. Daily Telegraph especially ran a campaign of resentment against disability pensioners; especially the mentally ill.

see here: https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/apc-rules-against-news-corp-over-slackers--slouch-hats-article,7191
Posted by Tristan Ewins, Monday, 12 October 2015 4:45:27 PM
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I wonder how the mix of legislation and employer responsibility fits with deliberately employing someone with a mental illness.

It's my impression that a lot of mental illness's impact on peoples interactions with others or place the person with the illness at a significantly higher risk of adverse outcomes from situations that others might treat as normal day to day events.

Not all but the article was phrased in general terms so it's hard to tell what's intended in that regard.

Should other employees need to deal with behaviours in the workplace that are well outside societal norms or have their own interactions closely policed over a long period to cater for someone else fragile state?

I don't have answers to those questions BTW, I have a friend off work due to depression at the moment and I understand it's tough.

I'm not adverse to the general thrust of Tristian's argument (other than the continued calls for more government spending without cuts which generally translates to higher taxes on middle income earners).

I do have concerns about some of the practical workings of the employment issues though. I suspect that in a lot of cases employment of someone with ongoing mental health issues would place an employer in at an elevated legal risk and fellow employees in often difficult situations unless the proposal is for a very restricted range of mental illness (or it's about people who already cope in the workplace and their illness is not stopping them holding employment).

R0bert
Posted by R0bert, Monday, 12 October 2015 8:03:18 PM
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Thanks Robert; Though even if you're against raising tax, Superannuation Concessions are a Budgetary cost. ie: that means cutting superannuation concessions for the well-off isn't literally a tax increase. Before we know it the cost of superannuation concessions will hit $50 billion. Much more than the entire Aged Pension. If Turnbull would cut superannuation concessions - by say $20 billion - that would provide enough scope for positive incentives for both pensioners and employers, better welfare, physical wellness case managers, subsidies for health and fitness, better mental health services including for inpatients etc.

Though we have low tax by international standards. Raising tax marginally just to fix the deficit shouldn't be seen as 'out of the question' even for a Liberal government. If the alternative is austerity which hits vulnerable groups then a slight increase in tax ought not be inflexibly 'ruled out'. Ruling that is exactly the kind of Ideological response that Abbott originally said he opposed. And Turnbull has said the same thing re: "being practical". Let's see the Liberals actually embrace practical policy!
Posted by Tristan Ewins, Monday, 12 October 2015 8:12:37 PM
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i know of a mentally ill woman, as cunning as a sewer house rat who has psychologically tortured her children all of their sad lives & has a criminal record as long as your arm. finally a judge did not let her walk away & imposed an extensive community service order but the way she carried on, the supervisor gave up after less than an hour, sent her home. she is not the only one either. a lot of mentally ill women have BPD & PNPD. the only workable situation is working on a chain gang & in a secure facility.

How about governments stop manufacturing mental illness every day. Then we will have less mentally ill people to worry about.
Posted by imacentristmoderate, Tuesday, 13 October 2015 3:55:58 AM
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