The Health News Australia September 3 2017

Overview

  • According to a new international study, people who hear voices or see things others cannot are twice as likely to subsequently have suicidal thoughts or attempt to take their own lives than the rest of the population.
  • An inquiry has been told that the federal government did not know the length of waiting lists for local drug treatment services when it chose three trial sites to drug test welfare recipients. Drug policy researcher Alison Ritter told Guardian Australia earlier this month that already stretched drug treatment services would not be able to meet the added demand.
  • The 2017 spring hayfever season is expected to be milder than last year’s severe pollen season. Low rainfall throughout autumn and winter in Sydney has meant grasses and trees will bloom later or not as much as last year, thereby reducing airborne pollen.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 3rd of  September 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-31/mentally-healthy-but-hearing-voices-increases-suicide-risk-study/8857098

According to a new international study, people who hear voices or see things others cannot are twice as likely to subsequently have suicidal thoughts or attempt to take their own lives than the rest of the population. The head of the project, Professor John McGrath, said if those people experienced the voices or visions at the age of thirteen or younger, the risk was five-fold.
The study involved more than thirty three thousand people in nineteen countries and was led by the University of Queensland-based Queensland Brain Institute.It did not include people suffering conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders.
Professor McGrath said hallucinations are more common than people expect. Professor McGrath said that about one in twenty people experience this at some point in their lives,”
Researchers hope the findings could help doctors screening for suicide risk and have implications for public health guidelines.

Bruce Roberts is co-founder of the Hearing Voices Network in New South Wales and heads the Melissa Roberts Foundation which aims to support, educate and inform people around hearing voices. His daughter Melissa was just eighteen years old when she first tried to take her own life.
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After her first suicide attempt, she revealed she was haunted by voices which were triggered by a severe trauma at the age of fourteen. The devastated father went in search of answers and after discovering the Hearing Voices Network in Europe and the UK he helped set up the same support group in Australia. Mr Roberts said in about eighty percent of cases, the voices and hallucinations are triggered by significant trauma. Professor McGrath agreed, saying researchers have also found links to anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use, and significant events like when a loved one dies.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/aug/31/rehab-waiting-lists-not-checked-in-welfare-drug-test-sites-australian-senate-inquiry-told

An inquiry has been told that the federal government did not know the length of waiting lists for local drug treatment services when it chose three trial sites to drug test welfare recipients.
Drug experts have warned the lack of drug and alcohol treatment services poses a significant challenge to the government’s plan. Drug policy researcher Alison Ritter told Guardian Australia earlier this month that already stretched drug treatment services would not be able to meet the added demand. Ritter said that our current estimate is that we’re currently meeting about fifty percent of the demand. The government plans to drug test  five thousand welfare recipients in Logan, Queensland, Bankstown-Canterbury in Sydney, and Mandurah in Western Australia.
Welfare recipients will be referred for treatment after two failed tests, and risk having their welfare cut off if they fail to engage with drug services. A Senate inquiry into the government’s welfare reforms heard on Wednesday the department did not have specific data on waiting lists for drug treatment services in the three trial sites before they were chosen.  Department of Social Services payment policy group manager, Cath Halbert, said the government did have knowledge of the number of services operating in each location, but not the extent of their waiting lists.
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Earlier in the inquiry, Ritter, who works for the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, told the committee that the government had resisted requests for the release of detailed data showing the extent of unmet demand in each state and territory. Ritter said she had asked the government to release the data. It had not been released.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-01/mild-hayfever-season-expected-in-2017/8859838

There is good news for allergy sufferers as the two thousand seventeen spring hayfever season is expected to be milder than last year’s severe pollen season. Low rainfall throughout autumn and winter in Sydney has meant grasses and trees will bloom later or not as much as last year, thereby reducing airborne pollen. The spring outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast rainfall to be below average in south-west Australia, above average in parts of south-east Queensland, and a “roughly equal chance of being above or below average” elsewhere in the country. High pressures in the south of Australia may favour increased rainfall on the east coast.

One in five people suffer from allergic rhinitis, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The last snapshot of hay fever in Australia taken in two thousand fourteen to two thousand fifteen reported the Australian Capital Territory had the highest rate of rhinitis followed by Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. The Northern Territory and Queensland had the least number of sufferers.  The main allergens along the eastern seaboard are dust mites, with pollen being the second cause of rhinitis symptoms.
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There is a strong genetic disposition to allergies, so if you suffer from hay fever it is highly likely that other members of your family have the same ailment. The most tell-tale signs of hayfever in mild sufferers include a watery nose, itchy eyes and sneezing. On-demand treatment such as taking an antihistamine can help relieve symptoms.

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