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mental health

Oct 30, 2013


As I write this, I can hear Jeremy Oxley pounding out “I’m alone with you tonight” (in my mind, anyway).  His voice and the songs of the Sunnyboys were part of my growing up.

Oxley’s struggles with schizophrenia and his rediscovery of the joys of music are profiled in a moving documentary, The Sunnyboy, which screens on ABC1 this Sunday (November 3) at 9.30pm.

I recommend making a date with it. You don’t need to have been a fan to find this an engrossing film. For those readers whose lives have been touched one way or another by mental illness, it will likely raise some familiar themes.

Many thanks to the film’s director Kaye Harrison (pictured below, right, with Oxley) for writing below about some of the complexities and ethical issues involved in making such an intimate portrait of Oxley and his relationships. Continue reading “Don’t miss The Sunnyboy…coming soon to a screen near you”

evidence-based issues

Feb 22, 2013


Are our policies and laws leading to treatment delays for people with schizophrenia?

It seems so, suggests a review of the evidence around involuntary treatment orders, conducted by the Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research and Schizophrenia Research Institute.


Time for a rethink around involuntary treatment for people with schizophrenia

Dr Anne-marie Boxall writes:

Under Australian mental health laws, people with schizophrenia can only be involuntarily committed to a mental health facility if they are assessed and it is determined that their illness is making them dangerous to themselves or others.

To determine whether they are to undergo involuntary treatment, mental health workers must assess people against an ‘Obligatory Dangerousness Criterion’. This criterion is an advance on methods used prior to the mid-1970s, when many countries authorised involuntary commitment to a mental health facility on medical certification alone, without court approval or any proof of an emergency situation.

An Obligatory Dangerousness Criterion is now widely used in Australia, the USA, and some areas of Canada and Europe as the means by which patients are assessed for the appropriateness of involuntary (compulsory) treatment.

There is no doubt the policy underpinning its use was well intentioned; an Obligatory Dangerousness Criterion was originally developed in an attempt to better balance the rights of the mentally ill with the need to protect the public.

However, over time some experts have begun to raise questions about the utility of this criterion, suggesting that it sometimes means patients don’t get access to necessary treatment as quickly as they should. Continue reading “What is the evidence on involuntary treatment for people with schizophrenia?”

consumer health information

Nov 11, 2009