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Journeys : Oct Nov 2010
14 October / November 2010 In our community Street-smart Opinion We asked: Do you think motorists should drive with their headlights on when it is foggy, icy or raining? Yes. It is really important that people are visible to each other on the road. It probably reduces the risk of accidents in that sort of weather. In any weather it is important to slow down too. Ruth Groom Holwell Yes, because it is dangerous, especially white cars in fog -- other drivers can't see them. It can cause an accident, like the recent big pile in winter this year. Tennille Griffiths Mowbray Yes, I totally agree. They should slow dow n as the weather gets ter rible, instead of speeding all the time. Stephen Harding West Launceston Yes. It's a good thing from a safety aspect. Once you've switched them on you are alert that the conditions are ha zardou s. Royce Giblin Riverside Yes, because it increases visibility on the road and it enables you to more accurately judge distances between cars, which has to be a good thing. Belinda Steele Inver may Robyn Maggs Deliberate accidents It is a shocking statistic. More Australians -- over two thousand of them -- die each year from suicide than from road accidents. A small percentage choose a car 'accident' as a way of ending their lives. Whatever the method, suicide demands more of us as a compassionate society than simply being shocked. It says little for our 'safety net' that an individual can be in so much emotional pain that death is an easier option than to go on living. Suicide is not ow ned by the young. It spreads across all age groups, from the young to the elderly. However the highest rates are found amongst middle-aged men and women. The causes are complex -- mental health issues like depression, psychological issues such as stress, social issues such as sexual orientation, economic issues such as unemployment. People who succeed in ending their life have ended their own pain, but often leave behind a lifetime of pain for those who loved them. In this complex world, where do we begin to find strategies that will lead to prevention? To begin at the beginning -- there is valid research evidence that biochemical health problem s, such as anxiety and depression, begin in the womb! So pregnant women need a support network that can help them deal with emotional issues in a way that will not har m their unborn child. No-one can wave a magic wand to eradicate financial, work or marriage stresses, but we can teach strategies such as mental and physical relaxation that help alleviate the reactions to such stress. Groups like beyondblue have done exceptional work in bringing preventative programs into the classroom. My ow n emphasis, as a clinical psychologist, would be on starting as early as possible. I have asked teenagers and adults when they could have opened up about their problems if they had been given a questionnaire asking such simple questions as Do you worry a lot that other people will think negatively about you? (Social anxiety disorder) Do you cry a lot? (Depression). Do you find that you have to do or think things, even though you know they are silly? (Obsessive compulsive disorder). Individuals tell me that in primary school they would have answered such questions honestly, but by high school they would not have ow ned up to having any problems. Gone are the days when we didn't think young children could suffer from mental health issues like depression, social an xiety disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder -- even six-year-olds can explain their problem to their classmates. I'm a great believer in a teacher's ability to tur n a student's life Photos and interviews -- Margie Law. See page 33 to read about what our previous contributor Kelly Madden is doing now.
Aug Sep 2010