‘As of December 2016, Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia between the ages of 15 and 45’
I attended a seminar last week which reinforced the importance of actively managing our health and well being-with a special focus on our mental health.
The speaker, Mr Paul Spinks– a Queensland Ambulance Service paramedic and state trauma counselor-served up one of the most confronting presentations I have attended.
He began by presenting some shocking, but not surprising statistics.
-As of December 2016, Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia between the ages of 15 and 45.
-He attended 4 suicides on the Gold Coast just last week.
-10 people will take their own life, in Australia, TODAY.
-1 in 2 of us will suffer from some form of mental illness by the time we are 60.
-There were 33 million, medical scripts written in the year 2014 for anti-depressant medication, 25% of these in the under 25 age-group. Our current population is only 26 million.
-As of December 2016, Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease are the leading causes of death in those aged 45 plus far exceeding Cancer, Trauma and other diseases.
-We are 25% heavier than we were 40 years ago.
-83% of us will have a chronic illness by the time we are 65.
-27% of us will be dead.
Yes, but true.
‘Suicide is now the leading cause of death between the ages of 15 to 45.’
We have to ask ourselves the question-what in God’s name could we be doing so horribly wrong?
Mr Spinks confirmed 95% of their work in 2015, was directly related to mental illness- Psychosis, domestic violence, homicide, suicidal ideation, and drug and alcohol related issues.
Only 5% could be attributed to Trauma (Motor vehicle accidents) heart attacks, strokes, paediatric illnesses and cardiac arrest.
What then is going wrong?
The crumbling of our social networks and harmful lifestyle factors-prominent in the Western World-were suggested as contributors, however I’d suggest the complexity of this issue far exceeds our ability to articulate an answer to this ‘Desperate’ question at this time. The rapid changes to our lifestyle over the last 20 years has caused global maladaption as our coping skills struggle to evolve at the required pace.
Allegedly, it is a proven fact that the third world has much, much less than us as far as opportunity and possessions go, but they are ahead of us on the happiness scale.
CURRENT SUGGESTIONS-Bad lifestyle choices
So is ‘over-indulgence’ killing us? -In effect, yes.
Gluttony-Food, money, possessions, the latest phone, the latest car.
Disconnection-from the world and our social support network-as screens and on-line communication replace personal contact.
Debt-Banks won’t blink an eye-lid supplying credit to those that cannot afford it. Credit, Credit, Credit- Debt, Debt, Debt, Stress, Stress, Stress.
The simple pleasures in life sadly, no longer satisfy a large proportion of the population, so we turn to addictive behaviours to either ‘numb’ or ‘feel’ .
Amphetamine and Methamphetamine use is sky rocketing. Ecstasy-The happy party drug-is cheap, easily accessible and widely used. People like it because it mimics an Anti-depressant, only it is 600 times more powerful. Ecstasy increases ones Seratonin levels by 600 times….suddenly we have the happiest person alive. However….what goes up must come down. Do you know what happens to someone when they come down by 600 times? -Aggresion, violence, criminal intent, depression, suicide, tachycardia (racing heart), extreme fatigue and malaise that lasts 5 times as long as the ‘high’ until next time they take it- only this time their brain has adjusted and therefore the required dose is now higher than previously-a vicious cycle.
Methamphetamine or ICE is usually the next step, when ecstasy is no longer satisfying them. ICE will rob them of everything they have. Money, respect for family, respect for self, it degrades your teeth, your organs, your whole body wastes, and they’ll be a slave to this drug for life as the addiction NEVER goes away.
Hospitals are treating patients with ICE addiction in record numbers, and staff are being assaulted on a regular basis as a result of their ‘coming down’ from their drug high.
Marijuana-Commonly known as the ‘safe’ drug, is responsible for 85% of schizophrenia related paramedic call outs. Smoking dope increases one’s susceptibility to schizophrenia 200 fold in comparison to their non-smoking friends.
WHY are so many of us turning to self destructive habits?
-because there is something missing in our lives.
But the million dollar question is-what is it?
These days, we must own the house, the boat, the car, provide for our kids demands, own all the latest technology, travel abroad a couple of times a year, etc. This heavy dependence on external factors and material items for fulfillment has become normal and so we have lost our ability to self fulfill.
Furthermore, if we perceive we don’t fit this comtemporary mould, we often feel lost, lonely and confused.
Currently, there is an enormous amount of pressure to simply keep up with contemporary societal expectations.
Whilst having a discussion amongst friends on this topic, I was struck by one particularly interesting summation-
“There is an unspoken war being waged against the people.
We are intentionally being reduced to wage slaves, burdened by debt.
We are poorly educated… By design.
Our food is full of chemicals and ingredients that are injurious to our physical and mental health.
Our values are being undermined, our free speech is being assaulted.
In the 60s, one full time salary was enough for a comfortable family life. Now 2 full time salaries barely make ends meet… With the additional break down of the family unit.
Our heads are pumped full of rubbish in the TV… and we are constantly reminded how we have to be afraid of terrorists, zika, global warming and all the other BS they try to hoodwink is with…
No wonder people kill themselves… No hope, no community, life enslaved to the banks that can create unlimited amounts of debt with the push of a key which pushes prices for homes and cars through the roof…
Eating food that is killing us with transfats, sugar, aspartamine….
Not rocket science.
Who wants to live if that is as good as it gets?”
So how do we fix it?
-You can be fit and fantastic at 70 and beyond!
According to Mr Brinks, instilling change begins with taking responsibility for our own health and well being.
Mr Spinks recommends we ask ourselves the following question.
Are we micro-managing ourselves well, or are we micro-managing ourselves sick?
Are there cracks in your mental wellness?
Recognise them early and seek help.
Does your workplace provide free counseling sessions? Use them, every single year and have a mental health check-up.
Watch your diet. Decrease refined sugars as much as you can.
Have you checked your blood pressure lately? What is it, what does it mean?
What is your cholesterol level?
Heart attack-We call it ‘The silent killer’ -you may never know your coronary arteries are blocked until your chest explodes and you enter the call of death- Cardiac Arrest.
So know your body.
If you require medication, TAKE IT and monitor your condition regularly.
There are those of us who have an unfortunate genetic pre-disposition to cardiac disease and other chronic illnesses. If this is you, take extra care to look after your body by not adding further risk factors.
Men-Know about your prostrate. Is yours ok? Have it checked. Prostrate cancer is relatively common, as far as cancers go, but most of you, won’t even know what the Prostrate does.
Ditch the fags.
Train. We have to exercise our hearts to keep them healthy- It’s the harsh reality.
We have to involve ourselves in some kind of resistance training to strengthen our muscles so they can support our skeleton as we age. We lose 4% muscle bulk per year after the age of 40 if we don’t actively re-build them. Poor muscle condition in the elderly is responsible for the old-age gait-and believe it or not, It can be improved upon.
Resistance training (exercising with weight) also acts to significantly reduce osteoporosis and joint degradation. Cardio work, decreases the risk of diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Exercise also helps with mental wellness.
If you can, get out in the fresh air, have designated ‘device off time’ and absorb the beautiful environment around you.
Give yourself a break and jump off the train of life a little bit every day.
Laugh. Do anything you can to really laugh at least once a day. This releases important endorphin’s (happiness hormones) that keep your stress levels at bay.
What gives me the license to advise these things?
I have worked in the health industry for 20 years-Enduring many tough hours in Emergency departments and Intensive Care Units, where the majority of patient presentations, in all honesty, are a result of poor lifestyle choices. This is an absolute sad fact.
The emergency department is packed to capacity with repeat offenders, who with help and insight, would be sitting at home in their lounge rooms.
My counseling hat has gone on more than I would like to admit.
Having said that, despite experience and education, race, age, religious beliefs and personality, we are ALL capable of going off track and we ALL need a little help sometimes. It’s normal.
I have no idea where we are headed as a society, however, hopefully a new age of health awareness will be born and our younger generation will be better equipped to adapt to our current life-style.
Any thoughts or opinions anyone?