August 2009

Newsletter No. 20


The July 2009 issue of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry has important information on a survey of mental health and wellbeing undertaken in Australia in 2007. It compares the results with a similar survey done in 1997 and with one done in New Zealand in 2003.
The results show that for both men and women about 20% of the adult population meet criteria of mental disorder in the year of the survey. This is almost the same as in the previous survey and about the same as the New Zealand survey, allowing for differences in method. Over a lifetime, however, the difficulties affect nearly half the population at one time or another. This is why mental health services are of such profound importance to the nation.
The commonest disorders are the anxiety disorders. Mood disorders and substance abuse disorders are the other major contributions to the pattern.
There are differences in the patterns shown by men and women but the overall extent of difficulties and impairment of health and wellbeing is similar. The patterns are best illustrated by the Venn diagrams shown in the next column.
The various percentages add up to more than 20% because a quarter of the subjects have two or more of the disorders but are only counted once in the total. This is a profoundly important part of the analysis of difficulties.


The other major finding is that only about one third of the affected people have sought professional assistance during the year.
Despite the daunting size of the problem it is encouraging that the Federal Government is taking the challenge so seriously and planning its response by using public health science rather than political spin. Similar careful analyses are promised for the child and adolescent mental health needs.

The MHYF Vic Annual General Meeting will be held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 26th August 2009 at the Hot Honey Café, 40 Armstrong Street, Middle Park. This is close to the Richardson Street corner and has plenty of street parking.
I’ll take this opportunity to repeat the information given in our July newsletter about the meeting. It will have a brief business component in which the present office-bearers will tell you about what has happened over the last year, and new office-bearers will be elected. This will be followed by dinner and the after-dinner speaker.
The menu (2 courses $35, 3 courses $45) :
• Soup of the day with crusty ciabatta toast
• Open Savoury tart with roasted pumpkin and tomato topped with fetta cheese and toasted pine nuts
• Two bean, corn and sweet potato enchilada
topped with cheese and served with a tomato
and avocado salsa and sour cream
• Morrocan lamb slow cooked with preserved
lemons and red capsicums, served with a herb
cous cous
• Chicken, mushroom and leek risotto topped
with shaved parmesan
• Beef ragout served on fresh pasta with a parsley gremolata
• Homemade fruit crumble served with custard
• Chocolate mud cake served with chocolate
espresso sauce and ice cream
• Toasted almond and honey ice-cream served with a Dutch almond cake

The after dinner speaker this year will be Ric Pawsey, Director of the ‘Take Two’ Program. His presentation is titled :
“The Take Two Service and the Innovation of Therapeutic Care for Children and Adolescents in
At this presentation Ric will talk about some of the background of the Take Two intensive therapeutic service for child protection clients, reflect on some of its learnings following 51⁄2 years of operation, and speak of the recent innovation of therapeutic care, in which the child protection and care systems are experimenting with “adding a therapeutic approach” to out-of-home-care, in the hope of providing better quality services for the children and adolescents who find themselves in care. Ric will be pleased to take questions, and pleased to “workshop” the whole idea of “therapeutic care” for children and adolescents with those who attend this AGM presentation.
This is not a boring old AGM but a stimulating evening’s discourse on topics of real importance to mental health. Fine food and fellowship make this an occasion not to be missed. Bring your companions and friends, whether or not they are members of MHYF Vic. However, it is important for us to accurately inform the restaurant of how many people are coming, so please RSVP to Allan Mawdsley on 9645 5348 or

Don’t forget to renew your membership. The annual fee is only $20, and every member counts when it comes to advocacy influence.
Newsletter Editor
This issue of the Newsletter was prepared by Allan Mawdsley. If any member is willing to join the Committee to take on the task of Editor, please contact me on


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