FOR THE RECORD: (Another) letter to the (same) Prime Minister on (another) World Mental Health Day

October 11th, 2014  |  Published in Health & Mental Health

work2DEAR PRIME MINISTER TONY ABBOTT, did you know 10 October is World Mental Health Day? And, do you remember I wrote to you last year on that day, Mr Abbott? I haven’t had a reply yet, you know, even though you claim you ALWAYS answer correspondence.

I trust you’ll understand when I say I feel CONFRONTED by your failure to answer my letters, Mr Abbott. You’ve talked about feeling confronted by women’s clothing recently, so you know what I mean, and it’s not a nice feeling, is it? I’ve written other letters too, apart from the one for Mental Health Day, and you haven’t answered them eiither!

Confronted AND offended, that’s what I am (to say nothing of disgusted, appalled and embarrassed). And that pretty much goes for everything you’ve done since you’ve been in office, Mr Abbott.

To get to the point, though, I might as well just repeat what I said last year, given that nothing has changed.

I don’t think you take the mental health portfolio seriously, do you, Mr Abbott, given its add-on status to Peter Dutton’s Sport and Health assignments (and we know where our national priorities lie in that lot).

That spreads the minister pretty thin, don’t you think? I guess you must know he’s an ex-policeman, maybe even think that’s okay – failing to grasp the distinction between sad and bad perhaps?

Your Mental Health Policy is pretty lame I have to say – covering youth services (very important) but little else.mh2 The whole population needs attention, wouldn’t you say? Particularly given the mayhem you and your cabinet of white blue-tied privileged blokey blokes are creating as you bluster and barge your way through the corridors of power.

I fear, though, you might be paternalistic enough to think you know what’s best for ALL Australians, without bothering to ask any of them or wasting time listening to ignoramuses from the margins. But, that sort of arrogance is actually part of the problem, don’t you see? It’s oppressive, and OPPRESSION IS BAD FOR MENTAL HEALTH.

Don’t suppose you get it, but on the off chance you do ever decide to do things differently, there are some of those ignoramuses who would be able and willing to help.

Best wishes for your own mental health. I’m sure you would feel an amazing uplifting of the spirit if you paid attention to social justice and, in particular this week, to issues of mental health.

Joan Beckwith, PhD, (retired psychologist).

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P.S. People who read this might like to add their own messages to their Prime Minister about mental health, so stay posted, Mr Abbott.

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