Personal Safety

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For those who access Flourish Australia’s services, ‘CANSAS Conversations’ provide an opportunity to think about and discuss things that effect our personal safety (CANSAS #10) as well as the way we might effect the safety of other people (CANSAS #11). Pictured: Workplace Peer Supports Manager Christine Miniawy with Peer Workforce Manager Peter Farrugia.

People with mental health issues are several times more likely to be victims of violence than the general population; and it is not just violence, but illness, abuse, exploitation and homelessness that could become a threats to our personal safety.

Many people with serious, enduring mental health issues become homeless and homeless people are more vulnerable to danger than most of us. See the article ‘Anne Deveson; Understanding homelessness and mental health issues’ in the June 2017 edition of Panorama.

Homelessness seems to be more of a problem than ever before. Recent reports suggest that there are large increases in the number of women are becoming homeless.

Hospital patients can be entitled to feel safe in that environment, but a lot of us who have been in-patients of psychiatric units have reported being harmed. This was especially true in the days before people with mental health issues began to insist on our human rights. Drug and alcohol abuse is another source of danger. So too is unsafe sex, especially for some people who may have difficulties with impulse control. There are also people who prey upon those whom they perceive to be confused or emotionally distracted. People with mental health issues are more vulnerable to sexual assault.

For those who access Flourish Australia’s services, ‘CANSAS Conversations’ provide an opportunity to think about and discuss things that effect our personal safety (CANSAS #10) as well as the way we might effect the safety of other people (CANSAS #11).

The dangers that effect all people affect people with mental health issues no less. Many disasters are avoidable. It seems that every weekend we hear reports of another rock fisherman who has been swept to their doom on the coast because of rough seas. Then there are the balcony collapses, often caused by too many people piling on during a party. Then there are the people who perish on poorly planned bushwalks.

Misfortunes like these are avoidable if we take care and use that rarest commodity in the world: common sense. See ‘How not to become a statistic’ in this issue.

 

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