Month: February 2015

Deep Brain Stimulation: a cyberpunk cure for depression?

ben ward
Ben Ward had lived with treatment resistant depression for over five years. This wasn’t just the regular ebb and flow of human emotion, or a sadness with a logical cause: overnight, Ben had changed from a lively, outgoing guy with a career to a virtual recluse. Things that had once brought Ben joy now offered nothing but the feeling of loss. Mixing with people, even longtime friends, was very difficult. The negative impacts of his mental health issue were evident, as Ben stopped enjoying outdoor sports such as surfing, cricket and riding motorbikes, had difficulty sleeping, and often returned home from work in a terrible state. After three years of this roller-coaster Ben finally had to put his career aside because he just couldn’t deal with the pressure anymore. The drive to die by suicide became a near-constant urge in the back of his mind, which understandably terrified Ben’s devoted parents.

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Mammograms: when should you start scanning?

Breast cancer means that some breast tissue cells have started to grow abnormally. It can be benign (staying within the breast) or malignant (able to spread outside of the breast). There are several types of breast cancer and different methods of treatment.

While breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among Australian women after certain types of skin cancers, thankfully it is among the slowest to grow. Age is the biggest risk factor in breast cancer, as 75% of all breast cancers only occur in women over the age of 50. Getting screened every two years is the best way to detect cancer early and will offer a better chance of successful treatment.

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West Ryde Story

by Grant J Everett

West Ryde PeoplesLeft to right: Jay, Carole, Ernie, Anthony, Julia, Dina

The value of having a job goes beyond just earning money. Being gainfully employed is something to take pride in and  plays a key role in helping somebody to recover from mental health issues. Mihaela Stanculescu, the Team Leader of Prestige Packing at West Ryde, spoke to Panorama about this.

Mihaela has the firm belief that even if you were filthy rich to the point where you’d never need to lift a finger again, you’d still have to work. Work isn’t just a simple case of production, like something done by mindless honeybees in a hive. You aren’t defined by what you are, but by what you do. Employment is a massive part of belonging to society, of understanding your purpose in this world and where you fit in.

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Writer beware


By Dennis J Pale

I love to write. I’ve had pretty minimal success in getting published with anyone reputable or worth dealing with, so my job here at Panorama has been a bit of a wish come true. After all, I’ve developed this particular skill set because I enjoy doing it, and somehow I found someone willing to PAY me to do it. Now I just have to get a job eating pizza and playing Xbox and I’ll be on easy street…

Many of us have this drive to create little worlds, and as a hobby it’s both satisfying and productive. When it comes to making money from wordsmithing, though, the dream is a little different to the reality. I’m not in the league of Rowling or King, so I’m not silly enough to pretend I can tell you how to be a successful author, but I do have advice on what NOT to do. Like one of my t-shirts used to say: “It’s all about luck…just ask any loser.”

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CANSAS Conversations

Coffeeby Peter Farrugia

Coffee tastes better with recovery

How many times do you hear a mental health support worker use a coffee date as a suitable means of support for people with mental health issues? It’s a lovely idea. It gets people out of their homes. It reduces their isolation. It helps people become accustomed to social interaction. But when it’s over, what happens then? Does the person wait a day for you to return? A week, perhaps?

Whenever we engage with people as a means of mental health support, we could ask ourselves one question. How did my engagement contribute to that person’s long-term recovery?

A simple way to achieve this is by participating in the CANSAS conversation.

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Driving not your scene? Try riding!

by Warren Heggarty

-5Zzzzooooom! Natasha in action at Eastern Creek

Most of us immediately think about cars first when it comes to private transport options, but have you considered a motorbike? We spoke with Natasha Harding from RichmondPRA who just happens to come from a long line of motorbike riders stretching all the way back to her granddad. Natasha still remembers her first time on a bike as a child, sitting on the gas tank while her cousin did all the work. After a short dalliance with sports cars (Natasha even worked for the Sports Car marque TVR in the UK) she was lured back to bikes by her husband, who is also a big fan.


“I enjoy riding a bike, and it’s handy, too,” Natasha said. She currently has a VTR 250, which she describes as a little commuter bike.

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Common Ground Diversity Workshop


By Grant J Everett

You’re never too old to learn some new tricks

Over two big days, employees from a dozen RichmondPRA locations gathered at Figtree Conference Centre to attend a workshop run by Rajiv Ramanathan, the Director of Practical Visionaries. The workshop was designed to help our organisation become more actively inclusive towards four particular social groups. Together, these four groups make up a big meaty slice of the pizza of Australian society, making this issue an important one. In no real order, the quartet of groups were:

  • The Indigenous community
  • PWD (People with disabilities)
  • LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex)
  • CALD (Culturally And Linguistically Diverse)

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