Wednesday, January 31, 2007

How come there are so many mentally "ill" anyway?

We know that "Reshaping Public Housing" will turn public housing estates into dumping grounds for people with mental "illness". Honestly, has DH gone mad? Did the last 40 years of Western history never happen? What happened to the insights of the 60's, of the socialists, the feminists, the sociologists and anthropologists, the social constructions and the post-modernists? When did we revert to a medical discourse and start using the old discredited term "mental illness" as if it was all there was to know about human grief, despair and struggle? What happened to the basic tenet of Sociology 101: private troubles are public and political issues etched into the the individual body?

DH has long wondered whether in fact the incidence of mental "illness" is increasing. While some mental illness is undoubtedly genetic in origirn, or has organic causes, how much of it is socially constructed? What if many of the depressive and anxiety disorders are actually a byproduct of the speeding up of time, the lengthening of work hours, insecurity about being able to make a consistent living in the global economy, of time poor families who can't get together because of 24/7 work regimes? How many addictions are attempts at self-medication, or a panacea for the meaninglessness of consumerist life?

New evidence as reported in the 7.30 Report yesterday suggests her hypothesis might have been right.

  • The once mighty bronzed laconic Oz are now the hardest working nation on EARTH! More than the JAPANESE for Christ's sake (the Christ of the Proddie Work Ethic anyway). More than the Yanks, more than the Germans! You know you don't vant it, pussycats.
  • In 1963, 65% of the mighty Oz worked a 5 day, 9-5 hour week. Now its only 8%
A research project at ANU's College of Medicine and Health Sciences have been studying the impact of workplace changes on a sample of 2,250 ACT workers, half public servants, half not.

The study shows strong associations between long hours/ high job insecurity and depression, anxiety and visits to the GP.

A spokesperson for the project said that this level of job demands and long working hours is not going to be sustainable in the future. It's going to have an effect on people's mental and physical health, it's going to be a burden on the health care system. That in itself is going to be a large cost for the nation



You want workers to be cheap? You want 24 hour service? You want public services to be reduced?

You're already paying through the nose for public services like public housing (aka free range mental hospitals), more police to contain drug addiction, crime and other acts of desperation, not to mention the PBS cost to the nation of anti-depressants is going through the roof.
You, silly, silly, SILLY people!


Himself said...

This really couldn't be simpler: in the current conjuncture the government can neither (a) pay people benefits if they refuse to work or (b) allow people to starve. The way of dealing with this is to declare anyone who finds work too unpleasant mentally ill.

DH said...

True enough. Disability as a bureaucratic category comes into being very much as a tool for sorting the "deserving" from the "undeserving" poor. Did you mean to imply though that people who can't work to schedule to the draconian regime of industrial and commercial forced labor imposed on us by the radical right, are somehow lazy by merely finding work "unpleasant"?

No? DH didnt think so.

Her guess is that you dashed this off in secret looking over yr shoulder in case the boss catches you and sends you off to a "re-education camp"