Sunday, October 04, 2020

How coronavirus is linked to an increase in complex mental illness, including psychosis, in young adults and older people

I can relate to that. Around February, I was hit with a triple whammy. The lockdowns were beginning, I lost my relationship of 14 years and my son moved out of my place into a place of his own. And at 77 my physical resources were much depleted.

So I did fall into a depression, which is always dangerous. But with the help of friends and family I survived. And amid all the restrictions I have actually found a new lover. So my depression has vanished. Amazing what can happen in your 70s.

A counselling psychologist I know has also sent me some remarks on the matter. See following:

“Social isolation might be increasing psychosis more than covid is. For most elderly ladies, old age is one big social event. Their social routines mark the hours and days of the week…. Church on Sunday, followed by lunch with the church ladies, then Monday lunch with the Monday lunch ladies, water aerobics Tuesday morning followed by bingo at the RSL in the afternoon, Wednesday morning is the appointment with the handsome physiotherapist, the afternoon is the card playing group, Thursday is lunch with the Thursday lunch ladies, Fridays is shopping and cuppa with Myrtle, Agnus and Ethel at the cafe, and Saturday is RSL lunch. During the covid lockdown many elderly ladies have been getting disoriented, losing their sense of what day of the week it is. Men and younger people too, benefit mentally from socialising and getting out doors. Just walking and getting out of the house can be greatly therapeutic. Outdoor scenery and distractions break the in-home thinking patterns and ruminations. And walking activates the brain both sides and overall, and so emotion can be more easily subject to reason when walking and thinking, and when walking and talking.”

However you look at it, the lockdowns have been a foolish and evil thing. The jurisdictions where there have been no lockdowns show a death rate that is in the middle of places that did have lockdowns. Lockdowns were originally a Chinese idea, well suited to a Communist country but inappropriate in a democracy

Back in March, that question was playing on the minds of mental health researchers such as counselling psychologist Ellie Brown.

Dr Brown and colleagues at Orygen Youth Health and the University of Melbourne wanted to know whether the numbers of people presenting with psychosis would increase either from coronavirus itself or from social isolation, and how people with complex mental health issues would cope.

“We wondered what was out there in the evidence, and what could we pick out that might help us understand what was coming down the track,” Dr Brown says.

Early studies warn COVID could increase psychosis
While it was still very early days in the pandemic, evidence from a handful of papers from other viral diseases, including SARS and MERS, and studies from the unfolding situation in Asia suggested coronavirus might actually lead to an increase in people experiencing psychosis.

What is psychosis?

Psychosis describes a group of experiences that relate to the loss of contact with reality.

This can include one or more of the following:

Feeling confused about what is real and what is not real (psychosis)

Hearing voices when no one is there (hallucinations)
Seeing, tasting or smelling things that other people do not (hallucinations)

Believing things that others find strange (delusions)
Feeling that people are going to hurt you when this is not the case (paranoia)

Speaking in a way that others find hard to follow (thought disorder)

An episode of psychosis describes a time when someone has these symptoms lasting for more than a week, which negatively affects their day-to-day life.

The onset of psychosis is usually seen in people in their late teens to early 20s.

But the data coming out of China suggested there was also a significant increase in people in their 50s and 60s experiencing psychosis for the first time.

“It’s really the older people who were more isolated who were presenting with a first episode, which was very unusual,” Dr Brown says.

But it’s not just the pandemic’s potential to trigger a first-time episode that health professionals are worried about.

Isolation, the mass psychology of fear, and other stressors can exacerbate symptoms or cause relapses for vulnerable people already living with chronic illness.

While the numbers are hard to pin down, months down the track there is a sense that there has been a rise in the number of people accessing mental health services.

According to Orygen there has been a 17 per cent increase in referrals to youth mental health services in north-west Melbourne over the past four months, up 8 per cent from the same time last year. There has also been a 14 per cent increase in contacts with clinicians compared to the months before the first lockdown began.

“We’re just getting the data in the increase in the number of people presenting with psychosis. And that’s just going to be the young people,” Dr Brown says.

Carmel Pardy, who oversees the telephone and online support centre for mental health charity SANE Australia, which supports people 18 and upwards, has also noticed an increase in people accessing the service since the pandemic began.

“We have had an interesting cohort of people who’ve come to us for the first time during COVID,” Ms Pardy says.

The charity is also seeing an increase in the number of carers calling.

But, she says, we won’t truly see the fallout of COVID on mental illness until next year.

The impact of isolation and anxiety
Isolation, disrupted routines, and lack of access to care are some of the themes emerging.

“A lot of people we work with struggle with relationships, so a relationship with a therapist might be the one constant and safe relationship in their life and if they can’t do that it’s been really, really problematic,” Ms Pardy says.

When SANE set up new services for COVID-19, they found many people needed a daily chat.

“You have to remember some of the people we work with may not get incoming calls, so this is an opportunity for someone to call and just check in on them.”

Increasing anxiety is a common report.


Women know all about pushing men’s buttons

Bettina Arndt writes

It is good to see that the Federal Government now seems likely to force the universities to address academic freedom issues raised following the violent protests against me at Sydney University. Many of you will remember that the riot squad was needed to remove protesters blocking the entrance to the venue where I was speaking out about the campus kangaroo courts.

That led to Education Minister Dan Tehan appointing former Chief Justice Robert French to enquire into free speech on campus. French originally suggested legislation guaranteeing the rights of staff and students to engage in free-flowing commentary and discussion and enjoy freedom of association. But he backed down after pressure from the sector and ultimately promoted a voluntary code which has led to little discernible change in the culture of our universities– as the Drew Pavlou fracas clearly demonstrates.

Now the courageous Pauline Hanson is horse-trading for her One Nation votes that the government needs to pass its new tertiary education bill by demanding the government include legislation on the free speech issue – as explained in the SMH today, which reports the predictable whining from the universities.

Although Hanson’s controversial views attract a barrage of criticism from our captured media, she is a rare politician in speaking out about important issues like this and also the impact of false violence accusations in family law matters. She was the one who pushed for the current Family Law Inquiry and is prepared to use her political muscle to ensure real change on key issues – so don’t write off this inquiry yet.

Mark Latham and the looming coercive control battle.

Her equally brave One Nation colleague Mark Latham is heralding that he proposes a fight-back against efforts to introduce coercive control laws into law in NSW.

See how Mark Speakman is playing lackey to the feminist groups demanding this change. Speakman is the NSW Attorney General who earlier this year regurgitated all the manufactured feminist bile against me, whilst demanding my award be rescinded.

Coercive control is all about psychological abuse – manipulation, surveillance, degrading putdowns, humiliation, threats – that perpetrators use to dominate their partners. Over the last few years coercive control laws were introduced into England and Wales and more recently Scotland, with predictable results.

The laws are supposed to be gender neutral which made the feminists rather nervous. This ABC article spells out there were initial concerns that “women might be misidentified as the perpetrator of abuse” but quotes reassuring research from Deakin University reporting that in England and Wales males comprised 106 out of the 107 offenders convicted of this new crime.

Now if I was to interview ordinary folk about which gender is more skilled at psychological manipulation, what’s the bet most people would say the fair sex are past masters at this tactic? Women are the ones who tend to show up in psychology research as more tuned into their partner’s vulnerabilities. We know exactly which buttons to push to drive our partners crazy.

There’s no question that any objective study of this issue would conclude that women are more likely than men to exert this type of control in destructive relationships. But laws like this will never result in large numbers of convicted female offenders because men are reluctant to put themselves forward as victims and they know they won’t be taken seriously if they report a coercive partner to the police. The feminists have the justice system sewn up and everyone knows it.

That’s all the more reason to do our bit to help Mark Latham stop this pernicious legislation from being introduced in NSW next year. Last week Latham was busy on social media spreading the word about what is happening. “The NSW Orwellian Liberals are now aiming to put marriages and families on trial for the newly invented DV offence, coercive control,” he tweeted. “A shocking, misleading grab for power.” Latham pointed out that under the proposed legislation husbands could be jailed for 14 years for withdrawing money from a joint bank account and driving the family car without permission.

As a starting point we are gathering a group of clinical psychologists and other experts to conduct a literature review, gathering evidence that women are just as likely as men to exhibit behaviours characterizing perpetrators of “coercive control”. We’re looking to launch a campaign, hopefully recruiting eminent social science experts and academics as well as practitioners – psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors – who will speak out about this effort to further tilt laws to demonise men, denying the reality of couple relationships. Please contact me if you’d like to come on board.

Violence orders dominate small-town justice systems

Recently I was contacted by a lawyer who works in small town on the South Coast of NSW. Neill McCarthy was briefly a public prosecutor but then went into private practice working mainly in criminal law. He wrote telling me that the working life of a small-town lawyer is now consumed by protecting men from false accusations of violence, which are generally being used to gain advantage in family law battles.

I’m doing a live chat on thinkspot with Neill on Wednesday Oct 7 morning, at 11 am AEST. Here’s the link to book in – (Don’t worry if you can’t make it at that time. You can watch a recorded version on thinkspot, probably later that day, and eventually I’ll have it on YouTube)

Neil will talk about some of his recent cases. He has fascinating tales to tell of a broken justice system where police are given no option but to take action against accused men, even when there is no evidence and they suspect the woman is lying. Magistrates and prosecutors don’t dare speak out about the miscarriage of justice occurring every day in their courts. And women bear no consequences from perjuring themselves in court.

Amy Coney Barrett on campus due process rights.

Now for some fascinating news about Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee. I was delighted to discover that Judge Barrett has spoken out about lack of due process for college students accused of sexual assault.

Ruling in a lawsuit against Purdue University, which has been accused of discriminating against a student suspended from the college after sexual assault allegations, Barrett condemned Purdue’s ‘fundamentally unfair’ adjudication of sexual assault claims. Barratt said that it was plausible Purdue officials chose to believe the female accuser “because she is a woman” and to disbelieve the male student accused “because he is a man”.Barratt’s truth-telling on this issue is one more reason for the Democrats to oppose the nomination of this conservative judge, particularly as Joe Biden is the major architect of the campus kangaroo court system.

Bettina Arndt newsletter:

Reports of Reef’s demise greatly exaggerated

If we are to believe the Queensland Labor Government, sugarcane farmers are evil and are destroying the Reef in their pursuit of greater profits with their use of fertilisers.

To counter this, new regulations are going to be introduced.

These will have the handy effect of allowing the Government to trumpet its environmental credentials while at the same time pandering to the Greens, the latter being an article of faith held dear by Labor governments.

Given this, it was intriguing to hear the head of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Paul Hardisty, concede under questioning before an ongoing Senate inquiry that only 3 per cent of the Reef, the inshore reef, was affected by farm pesticides and that even that 3 per cent was at “low to negligible risk”.

This in effect means that 97 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef, which lies 50km to 100km off the coast, is completely unaffected.

It is also worth noting that while scientists regularly shriek warnings that the Reef is dying and in so doing damage the tourism industry, no one has bothered to measure coral growth or the lack of it for the past 15 years.

Marine scientist Peter Ridd, who questioned the validity of claims made regarding the imminent death of the Reef by his peers, was sacked by James Cook University for his impertinence.

James Cook has since spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of university funds pursuing him through the courts.

AgForce reef taskforce chairman Alex Stubbs says cane farmers have been persecuted by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science over the issue of water quality and the health of the Reef.

The proposed legislation, he said, had been cooked up by bureaucrats, was fundamentally flawed and would do untold damage to the sugar cane industry. Guess which political party cane farmers will be putting at the bottom of their ballot papers at the October 31 state election.

If sugarcane farmers are the bad guys, then coal miners are the devil incarnate which is why the State Government keeps stalling approval of a planned expansion of the New Acland mine near Oakey.

There is also the small matter of pandering to – you guessed it – the Greens.

Coal is bad, we are told. Coal kills. It causes climate change, bushfires and if it continues to be mined, will lead to the extinction of civilisation.

The world, we are lectured, is abandoning coal and it’s pointless for Australia to keep mining it because nobody wants the stuff.

Companies that do business with coalminers are threatened with consumer boycotts, and cowardly executives acquiesce in the face of the baying of the mob and divorce themselves from coal.

Driven by fear, not reason, they abandon their responsibilities to their shareholders in their desperate efforts to appear to be ”woke.”

The Chinese, who don’t care in the least about being woke, must be more than a little bemused by all this as they continue to build and approve coal-fired power stations at a record rate.

Germany recently commissioned a new coal-fired power plant, Japan has plans to build more than 20, India is increasing its coal-fired electricity generation by more than 20 per cent, while Indonesia, Mozambique, Malawi, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Philippines, Vietnam and Serbia are all building coal-fired power plants.

The Age of Reason may be dead, but on the evidence it appears that coal is not.

The Reef also stubbornly refuses to fulfil the prophesies of its imminent demise, even when it is forecast by such towering intellectuals as Leonardo Di Caprio, who has never seen the Reef but pronounced it to be near death in 2016, as did then US president Barack Obama when he treated Australians to his ignorance in 2014.

This brings us to politicians. Is it true or false that a person like, let’s say Victorian Premier Andrews, would lie after swearing on the Bible to tell nothing but the truth?

Have a guess.


Anti-discrimination commissions have tyranny built into their design

God deliver us from the hands of zealots.

They exist in different guises in every age, lay claim to being the era’s moral guardians and demand no more than complete obedience to their ordained order. They only burn heretics in sorrow, for their own good and that of society.

Zealots know those who defy them are sinners. So, any means is justified in the restless hunt for evil.

Arthur Miller explained it in The Crucible: “… the necessity of the Devil may become evident as a weapon, a weapon designed and used time and time again in every age to whip men into a surrender to a particular church or church state.”

Now the bureaucratic state dictates morality and the devil is discrimination, in all his endlessly evolving forms. The crime is giving any perceived offence. The weapon is the law.

There is now a witch hunt afoot in Tasmania.

The witch is Liberal Senator Claire Chandler. On July 17 she wrongspoke in the pages of The Mercury: “You don’t have to be a bigot to recognise the differences between the male and female sexes and understand why women’s sports, single-sex change rooms and toilets are important.”

This elicited a response from an unnamed Hobart man who emailed the senator confronting her crimethink. The senator doubled down: “I do understand the difference between sex and gender. That’s why I’ve made the point in my article that women’s toilets and women’s change rooms are designed for people of the female sex (women) and should remain that way.”

The article and email were referred by the constituent as a complaint to Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sarah Bolt. Ms Bolt then wrote to Senator Chandler, noting that the complainant was not a member of the trans-community and dismissing the argument that the article had offended the law.

But Ms Bolt determined the complaint about the email had merit. She found, “a reasonable person is likely to anticipate that a person who is a member of the LGBTIQ+ and gender diverse community would be humiliated, intimidated, offended and insulted”.

Having identified the possibility of an anticipated offence Senator Chandler has been called to a hearing before the commission on October 1.

The senator made a fuss in the media. This drew a second missive from the commission. It noted that it was also an offence to “hinder” or “use insulting language” against the commissioner.

A few issues arise.

First, Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commission, and all such commissions, have tyranny built into their design. It is meant to be a mediation service – and often is – but can also be advocate, prosecutor, judge and jury in one. This invites quasi-judicial bodies to become star chambers. They now deny a keystone democratic right of a fair hearing before an impartial tribunal. The right to freely complain about this injustice has also been removed by law.

Second, the senator is expressing what was, until recently, a pretty conventional worldview. What has changed is a new protected group has evolved, the trans community, whose advocates demand that those who self-nominate a gender must be accepted as male or female.

Laws are being made about this so debate is demanded, starting with when should someone be considered to have transitioned? Is it after reassignment surgery or just on the strength of nominating the change? This is no small difference and both are claimed.

In a free society, an individual’s right to make personal choices about the course of their lives should be respected and defended. But why should someone else’s subjective truth become an objective reality for the whole of society and the law used to enforce it?

This highly contestable, and evolving, space runs far deeper than a fight over public toilets. It involves questions of truth and identity, which concern us all. There has been little community debate, yet bureaucracies everywhere are conforming with demands in fear of being branded transphobic, the latest in a long list of identity crimes.

But here there is also a clash of ideologies, on what it means to be a woman. Some old-school feminists fear their homeland is being colonised by strident activists. The author J.K. Rowling is one. For defending her truth she has been vilified and “progressive” bookshops have banned Harry Potter from their shelves. And how are these book burners morally superior to the many who marched before them through history?

There is much to debate but that is being silenced in the name of defending human rights, and who dares mount an argument against such a righteous cause?

Because, above all, it is forbidden to question a victim, as Miller wrote, “Is the accuser always holy now? Were they born this morning as clean as God’s fingers? I’ll tell you what’s walking Salem – vengeance is walking Salem. We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!”


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don’t forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here

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