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Byron Shire
February 9, 2023

Mental health in the ‘hood

Latest News

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I read with interest Paul Bibby’s article in this week’s edition of The Echo – ‘Poor mental health still an issue’.

As someone who has experienced, first-hand, the impact of the flooding that started on 28 February last year and the tortuous recovery of life, business, and property as the water receded, leaving a mud-coated landscape for us to grapple with, I can attest to the prolonged nature of the emotional disturbance that started in the days following the inundation and continues to today. 

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Swiss psychiatrist, in the years after WWII pioneered a five-stage model of the grieving process, which revolved around denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (DABDA) through which the grieving person moves and returns to – again and again – and, finally, achieves some sort of resolution, but it is a process which is never actually completed. 

As someone who experienced a complete inundation and loss of home, business, and relationship, on and following 28 February; who has, in the months since, experienced at various times, all the symptoms of post-traumatic stress and who has been experiencing and working through this grief process (DABDA) throughout, I commend Paul Bibby for his article and the Mullumbimby Safe Haven for their work in this field. 

Historically, the most insidious aspect of mental health disturbances has been the shame experienced by the sufferer – often brought on by the unwillingness of members of our society to recognise the diagnosis as a health issue and to address the problem without stigmatising the person afflicted in this way. This is a serious issue for many of us in recovery and my thanks to you, Ed, for ventilating it on the front page of The Echo. Well done!

Graham Mathews, Federal     

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