Once stigmatised and shunned from public discusion, mental illness will be firmly in the spotlight in the Hills this month as the push continues to raise awareness about a very real health problem.
National charity SANE estimates that 20% of Australian adults are affected by a mental disorder each year and nearly half the population will experience mental illness at some time in their lives.
Those figures bring home the fact that, if it hasn’t already affected us, we will all experience mental illness at some stage, whether as sufferers or as loved ones caring for those affected.
It is encouraging then to see how far society has come in recent years in breaking down stereotypes and increasing services and support to those with mental health issues.
Stories like the one shared by Mt Barker woman Heather Nowak in today’s edition show how valuable a supportive health service and a caring community are to helping sufferers on their road to recovery.
But the alarming rate of suicide among former military personnel – a number that is on the rise – and concerns expressed by the Mt Barker RSL about the lack of support for veterans highlight that there is still much more to be done.
The decision by Environment Minister Ian Hunter to discontinue the State Government’s funding towards the removal of European wasp nests is yet another example of local government being forced to do more with less.
The councils will either have to pass the cost of nest removal to the property owner or put the rates up for everyone to cover the shortfall.
Either way the buck will stop with the little guy as the State Government washes its hands of all responsibility.
The fact is that people cannot ignore a wasp nest in their backyard or their wall cavity. The wasps must be removed.
The danger is that changing the structure to make it the property owner’s responsibility might encourage people to take nest removal into their own hands.
This could have tragic consequences.
It might also encourage some property owners not to report nests thereby making the problem worse.