20.09.2018 - Mental Health is the #1 reason Australians visit their GP

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) says Australians are now presenting to their GP with mental health issues more than any other health concern.

President of the RACGP Dr Bastian Seidel said mental health issues, including depression, mood disorders and anxiety, now dominate GPs’ time.

“It is not musculoskeletal problems patients are presenting with most often, or cardiovascular disease – the stock standard medical presentations we always hear about,” Dr Seidel said.

“It is psychological issues GPs are dealing with most of the time.”

Mental health was cited as a top-three issue by 65% of female GPs and 53% of male GPs in the RACGP’s benchmark annual report, General Practice: Health of the Nation 2017.

Dr Seidel said psychological issues are often connected with other issues that patients may be experiencing, including ill health and social circumstances.

“People don’t go to their GP and say, ‘I just have depression and nothing else’,” Dr Seidel said

“People, and their health concerns, are complex.”

Dr Seidel encourages Australians to speak to their GP if they have mental health concerns.

“All GPs are trained in mental health,” Dr Seidel said.

“I don’t only refer my patients to an iPhone app to have some online counselling. That is not the level of comprehensive care GPs offer.

“We don’t specialise in one particular condition or disease, we specialise in our patients.

“Patients want to talk to the GP they trust. The GPs who have looked after them for many years.”

General Practice: Health of the Nation 2017 also found GPs identify mental health as the health issue causing most concern for the future, followed by obesity and diabetes.

“This is a clear warning of both the current frequency and future potential impact of psychological ailments on individuals, the community and the broader health sector,” Dr Seidel said.

Taken from: https://www.racgp.org.au/yourracgp/news/media-releases/mental-health-issues-the-main-reason-australians-see-their-gp-(1)/

13.08.2018 - Reflection on the 2018 International Childhood Trauma Conference

In August, Inspire Psychotherapy therapists were delighted to attend the 3rd biennial International Childhood Trauma Conference in Melbourne, hosted by Australian Childhood Foundation. The week long conference was attended by 2,600 delegates, including 18 internationally renowned practitioners and major authors in the field of trauma and neuroscience. Our own Tanya Chiplin presented her latest research on a trauma informed multi-sensory psychotherapy technique.

Below, Donna Smyth has reflected on the experience:

The theme of this year’s conference was “Trust, Love and Betrayal: therapeutic interventions that work in the face of relational and complex trauma”. While the speakers and presentations topics were diverse, the centrality of love was evident. Love as the context for brain development and the development of self; the absence or corruption of love as the definition of abuse; and the necessity of love for healing, repair and restoration. The amount of information and learning from the conference is too much to include here, but I would like to share one of my favourite take home messages, that continues to stir in my mind and heart.

Who’s in your tribe?

One speaker, Lou Cozolino (US), shared his research on what love looks like in community; exploring the design of systems and why they are so necessary, and investigating the unique and critical roles of the various people in a ‘tribe.’ Lou shared the example of a key developmental phase that those of us who are parents can relate to – that period when our toddlers LOVE (and need, it turns out) to hear the same bed time story over and over (and over and over…), or watch their favourite show over and over, listen to the same Wiggles song on repeat, etc. They crave the repetition, and in fact their brain needs it – it’s critical for their development. This is a source of great parental anguish, and Lou suggests that that’s OK – it was never meant to be our job. You see if we now think about the elderly people in our lives, the grandparents, great Aunts and Uncles, and consider what activity they often crave (and, Lou suggests, need), many of us can attest to the importance of story-telling in this developmental phase also, this time as the story teller! These story-keepers often love nothing more than to tell the same tales over and over, never tiring of the details, the characters, the plot lines. And if we’re honest, we might admit that this also can be a source of frustration, much as we feel each time we open that same tattered picture book night after night. But again, Lou suggests this is OK too - in our middle years we are not developmentally geared to either tell nor hear the same story on repeat. His suggestion is that our ‘tribes’ were designed that all needs would be collectively met in a natural, kind of symbiotic approach to development. It was meant to be simple - put the little children at the feet of the grandparents, and let the story telling begin. Let the brains that need to hear and the brains that need to tell, be together. A biological imperative for development, that also serves to sustains the culture, values and history of the tribe.

We were never meant to do this alone, to somehow meet all our own or our children’s needs. We have simplified the saying “it takes a village to raise a child,” watering it down to suggest we all need support from time to time. It is so much more complex, hard-wired, and imperative than that. I’m left wondering what other needs was the tribe designed to perfectly meet? And how can we recreate new ways of being in a 21st century tribe, or build a tribe if we find ourselves without one? In an age where society is quick to meet ‘need’ with ‘product,’ where often our first response to need is to search the App store, let’s remember that all of our needs were intended to be met through relationship. And it was meant to be beautiful.