Taming the black dog

Today marks one year since Western Australia’s former state premier, Dr Geoff Gallop, stepped down from office due to depression.

Part of the statement he made at the time said, “It is my difficult duty to inform you today that I am currently being treated for depression. Living with depression is a very debilitating experience, which affects different people in different ways. It has certainly affected many aspects of my life. So much so, that I sought expert help last week.

My doctors advised me that with treatment, time and rest this illness is very curable. However, I cannot be certain how long I will need. So in the interests of my health and my family, I have to rethink my career.

My commitment to politics has always been 100 per cent plus. I now need that time to restore my health and well-being. Therefore I am announcing today my intention to resign as Premier of Western Australia and the member for Victoria Park in the state parliament.”

His honesty and courage in speaking openly about depression has helped many people seek help for this often crippling problem. Before people start to seek a solution to any kind of mental health issues they need to know that it’s safe to do so. Dr Gallop’s courage gave courage to many others.

One group that has been helping people towards better mental health for many years is GROW.

“GROW’s primary aim is to help fellow sufferers of mental illness or emotional distress recover their mental health and wellbeing through self-activation and friendly mutual help.

Many people who experience depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses, loss, abuse, relationship difficulties or various other misfortunes, often endure their problems with great courage, but do not have the support or knowledge which will enable them to overcome these problems. GROW has found a way based on the lived experience of thousands of individuals who have had a mental illness and have recovered.”

David Tehr is a representative for GROW and I spoke to him this morning as part of my radio programme on 98.5 Sonshine FM.

The good news is that there is a way forward for those suffering depression and other mental health issues.

If you’d like to listen to our conversation now you can use the media player below.

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Australian Idle?

How quickly we forget.

I played a song by past Australian Idol finalist Anthony Callea on the radio yesterday. It reminded me of the DVD that Emily borrowed on Sunday afternoon from the local DVD hire place. It’s a look back at Australian Idol …. the very first Australian Idol back in 2003.

While the programme over the past few years has helped some of the contestants do amazing things I was surprised at how little I remembered of many of the top 12 contestants from that first year. We watched a fair bit of the first series at the time but there were people in the final 12 on that DVD that I had no recollection of at all. I remembered a little of the pig farmer and one or two others but I wouldn’t know many of them if I fell over them in the street.

I wonder if any of those finalists who showed such promise, and were hailed by the judges as future stars, are playing in some little club somewhere each night to a group of 30 people, or if they’ve returned to their former jobs. How many of the dozens of bright shiny finalists from the years the show has been running could we name now? How many of them have gone on to live ‘the dream’?

As for not remembering most of them, I’m wondering if it’s a case of bad memory on my part or an indication of how quickly your 15 minutes of fame can be over.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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