Put yourself in the shoes of someone who needs help and look at Gillard & Beyond Blue through their eyes
Have you ever woken up in the morning angry that you're still alive?
Ever felt you're teetering on the edge of depression?
I have. I went to a great GP and was amazed at how quickly he made an initial diagnosis after we discussed the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ9).
My GP sent me to a psych who treats lots of former soldiers and police with PTSD - he was a top bloke who really understood the realities of depression. He was being taken to the cleaners through the family court and the empathy he had with us patients was real and the advice more often practical than medical.
Every single patient in the ex-army/emergency services community loved that man like a brother.
If you've not been through the experience of dealing with clinical depression, just imagine that you're dealing with it right now.
Even better put yourself in the shoes of someone you know who's had to deal with depression.
I'm picturing a bloke I met at a support group for fathers whose little babies had died suddenly.
I'll never forget his answer to the question "What was your greatest fear in coming along here to the meeting?"
He said, "That someone would have a worse story than mine".
Imagine you're the bloke who said that. Or the outstanding health professional who dealt with that statement in the group setting.
Beyond Blue is there for people like you. You know Gillard's just moved into the Chairmanship. What's she going to bring to the table?
Read this ABC News report in its entirety and let me know how you'd react.
Julia Gillard weighs in on Trump and coping with anxiety as she takes leadership of Beyond Blue
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has weighed in on the mental state of US president Donald Trump as she steps into the role of Beyond Blue chair.
Speaking to Lateline, Ms Gillard said she struggled with anxiety at times during her prime ministership and she had to find ways to cope with the "poison" directed at her via social media.
Ms Gillard, who takes over from Beyond Blue founder Jeff Kennett, said she's looking forward to once again "courting the public light" in the name of the mental health charity.
Not surprised by commentary on Trump's mental health
"I would worry that a charge of being mentally ill ended up being thrown around as an insult," Ms Gillard said.
"I know that some people in the US, some commentators are not proffering that analysis by way of insult, they're actually saying it because they are genuinely concerned.
"From the outside I think it is very difficult to judge someone else's mental health … so I think there's some need for caution here.
"But I do think if President Trump continues with some of the tweeting etcetera that we've seen, that this will be in the dialogue."
'I had moments of anxiety'
"Obviously everybody has moments of anxiety, and I had moments of anxiety, but I did think about what I needed to do to protect my mental health when I was in the rigours of public life," she said.
"As I looked at very negative media headlines — dreadful things on social media — and I did consciously think, I've got some choices to make now about how much I let of this into my head.
"How much of this poison gets in my head and stays with me?
"I've got some choices about how much I brood, or whether I go to bed and sleep soundly. I made some very deliberate choices, so I wouldn't let it get in my head, I would sleep soundly at night.
"I also know now from my period at Beyond Blue, just because in the past I've been able to withstand quite strong pressures without having an episode of mental ill-health, doesn't mean you can say as an individual, gee I'm immune. I mean no one is immune."
'Jarring voices' in same-sex marriage debate
"Should we ever have such a plebiscite, then I think there would be a lot of weight on everyone, including all political participants from all political parties, to make sure that the debate was respected," she said.
"I would be concerned that that kind of debate could have within it some very jarring voices which would compound this problem of stigma."
Media responsible for shift in western politics
"The rhythm of politics has been profoundly disrupted by the changes to the media cycle and the advent of social media, so the way in which the electorate perceives and sees politics and politicians is different now," she said.
"The thing that concerns me, and this is a question for the media as much as it's a question for today's politicians, whether they're US politicians, or Australian politicians or anywhere else in the world:
"It seems to me it's harder now to sustain the focused attention you need for deep reform conversations.
"The media caravan wants to very quickly move on and I saw that when I was prime minister. You would literally announce a multi-billion-dollar, huge new policy in a blue room press conference mid-morning, and by mid-day journalists from the press gallery would be ringing my press secretary saying, 'have you got a story for us?'"
How does Gillard want to leave Beyond Blue?
"I would hope that by my last day at Beyond Blue we're able to say as a nation that we've taken some big strides forward in addressing the suicide crisis," she said.
"I use the word crisis deliberately because suicide rates are at a 10-year high.
"Eight Australians a day on average kill themselves, six of them are men.
"It's far higher than the national road toll."
If you or anyone you know needs help:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
- Headspace on 1800 650 890
David Lipson gave her a wide open first question. She could have spoken about Beyond Blue, the magnificent work of some of its professionals, the big shoes to fill from the outgoing chair, the background role she and the supporting staff will take to allow the health professionals to better do their jobs.
Did she? Nope, nope, nope. Here's the answer:
I have been quiet. I haven't been entirely gone: I've been doing a series of things in Australia, but not courting the public light. Now I will be looking for public attention for the cause of Beyond Blue.......
Read the transcript, in an interview about Beyond Blue, an organisation that exists for people with depression, Gillard felt the need to say "I have been able to withstand quite strong pressures without having an episode of mental ill health" .
I thought Graham Richardson summed her up brilliantly in this comment from the 2nd most read story in The Australian today.
Julia Gillard criticised for linking Trump’s tweeting and mental health
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been criticised for linking US President Donald Trump’s tweeting habits to a debate about his mental health.
Victoria Liberal Party president Michael Kroger said Ms Gillard risks hurting Beyondblue’s credibility if she continues to make similar comments.
“What’s Gillard doing, she’s giving free character assessments about his mental state,” he told Sky News’ Bolt Report program. “You become a head of this organisation and now she’s an expert on Donald Trump’s mental state — clothed in clever language, but goodness me, she’s got to stop doing it. She’ll damage the organisation if she keeps doing that.”
Former Labor Senator turned commentator, Graham Richardson, said it is the “last thing” she should say in her new role. “She just doesn’t get it,” he told Sky News’ Bolt Report. “If you become the boss of Beyondblue, what she’s just been saying is the last thing she should say. I’d have thought she just proved that the inadequacy that was so obvious when she was Prime Minister is still there.”
This is Gillard to a tee. She doesn't give to an organisation, she takes from it. When she became Prime Minister she used her office to shut down enquiries into her personal behaviour in the AWU Scandal. Now she's using her title in a mental health organisation to have a go at President Trump's mental state.
Like I said yesterday. The best thing she could do to help the blokes in the support groups step back from the brink is resign.