13 April 2010


These two articles appeared in the same editions of the Sydney Star Observer and Southern Star. Beyondblue is an organisation determined to propagate homophobia and assist members of the GLTH coomunities to continue suffering from depression and - worse - lead many, both young and old, to commit suicide.

Not only is Jeff Kennett a homophobe of the worst sort, but those running his organisation are running to similar patterns.

Andie Noonan
Thursday, 8 April 2010

‘Beyond a joke’

Gay and lesbian youth have again been ignored by Australia’s peak depression organisation, beyondblue.

The organisation’s new, 127-page draft guidelines for youth depression, Clinical Practice Guidelines on Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults, contains a single reference to GLBTI youth, under ‘Groups with low levels of help-seeking’.
Beyondblue board member and adolescent psychiatrist, associate professor Brett McDermott — who headed an expert panel to develop the guidelines — said the lack of inclusion was due to an absence of “high quality” research.

“We’re very disappointed about this as well,” McDermott told Sydney Star Observer.
“The process was about trawling the scientific literature for very high quality studies, for randomised control trials, or trials of a similar degree of scientific rigour.

“We only found one [study] that specifically included that group … so we’ve tried to flag that, and we’ve tried to say there’s an urgent future research agenda, there are some very important groups … we need some research on.”

But according to beyondblue’s own fact sheet, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows homosexual and bisexual people have far higher levels of anxiety disorders than their heterosexual counterparts (31 percent compared with 14 percent); and more than triple the rate of depression and related disorders (19 percent compared with 6 percent).

Critics of the draft guidelines say beyondblue is falling well short of its committment to target depression in the GLBTI community after public assurances following its GLBT mental health roundtable last December.

Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria director Anne Mitchell told Sydney Star Observer it was “ridiculous” that research GLHV compiled specifically for beyondblue in December 2008 for their own literature review, Feeling queer and blue, was not taken into account.

“They have the data,” she said. “We put together the literature review for beyondblue with a fairly substantial amount of evidence, the best evidence available … even without randomised control trials, including that evidence would be good academic practice, I would have thought.”

Mitchell also hit out at the ethics of conducting randomised control trials with adolescents, saying it was not the sort of research she would want to put participants through.

“You don’t just get two random control samples of young people, then give some depression medication and watch to see how many people suicide.”
McDermott stressed the guidelines — which were withdrawn by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in 2004 — were still in a draft format and said the information should be viewed as generalist.

He said beyondblue was pushing for a five-year review cycle and raised the potential for annual updates if more evidence is available.

info: The guidelines are open for public submissions until May 12.
Visit www.beyondblue.org.au (Not worth bothering about!!!)


Doug Pollard
Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A depressing lack of care

Organisations that claim to serve a ‘higher power’ are apt to see themselves as above the law.

Any illegality or immorality is justified because their mission is too important to be impeded by the law, or jeopardised by the relatively unimportant ‘mistakes’ of a few members.

The Roman Catholic Church and Scientology have both been accused of fitting this model. When attacked, they first pretend the problem doesn’t exist, or is insignificant, then throw the blame onto others, and paint themselves as the true victims.

The latest Vatican effort is particularly disgusting: according to the Pope’s personal preacher, attacks on the church over paedophilia are reminiscent of the attacks on the Jews by the Nazis — something the Pope may be presumed to know a good deal about.

There are signs that the self-styled ‘national depression initiative’, beyondblue, may be in danger of falling into a similar trap.

The initial symptoms are all there. When criticised for failing to address the horrendous rates of depression, self-harm and suicide among same sex attracted youth, the organisation’s first reaction was denial.

Then under pressure, mainly from Rob Mitchell, beyondblue commissioned a review of the pre-existing research, which confirmed the problem.

The responsible reaction might have been to institute an internal enquiry into how this had been missed, and the immediate deployment of resources to tackle the problem. Instead beyondblue sat on the report and only published it after sustained pressure.

It took more pressure before they called a ‘round-table’ of GLBTI representatives, at which they promised to make GLBTI issues a priority.

Now, after another lengthy period of silence come the clinical guidelines on the treatment of depression, which — apart from a single sentence — ignore depression among the sex and gender diverse community.

The guidelines are important because they form “practice recommendations for health care professionals, consumers, carers, families and friends to support and assist adolescents and young adults, aged 13-24 years … with depression” — National Health & Medical Research Council.

beyondblue says that, of the more than 50,000 studies worldwide confirming suicide rates among same-sex attracted youth at five to six times that of their straight counterparts, only one meets their criteria. Doesn’t that indicate a problem with the criteria?

Not according to beyondblue. And so with a flutter of their pretty butterfly’s wings, a mountain of evidence conveniently disappears. Along with all those inconveniently dead depressed gay teenagers.

When challenged beyondblue — with millions of dollars from taxpayers and donations — suggests that the gay community should, at its own expense, find and present evidence that does meet the criteria. By May 12.

There isn’t a hope in hell of meeting their demandshAnd so teenagers will continue to die for want of proper guidelines for their treatment. And by beyondblue’s standards, it’ll be our fault, not theirs.

Can anyone spell ‘homophobia’?

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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm