7: Controversies and a Quick Dive into NGOs

Mental Health Post 7: Issue mapping

by Rachel Mah

In week 5, we had the opportunity to work in a merged group workshop to discuss and analyse our topic of mental health on a deeper level. Prompted by a list of specific sections provided to us by our tutors, we mapped our topics out with the intention to obtain specific sub-topics, rather than a broad view. The results are as mapped below:

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Map 1 : Government

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Map 2: Controversy and Debate

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Map 3: Controversy

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Map 4: Doctors

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Map 5: Further analysis of NGO and Governmental Help

Because our mental health in-class groups were missing members, we decided to work with 2 other teams to produce maps. We came to a decision to analyse the government as a stakeholder in mental health as it was a common denominator between all of our concerns with Australian mental health. We found that all of us had a substantial understanding of what resources were available for mental health service consumers and were able to list various charities, NGOs and governmental programmes that were relevant.

I decided to do more work on this area separately (Map 5) and I began to feel that NGOs were more outspoken in the fight for mental health when I attempted to list governmental programmes for mental health in all areas. One area in particular stood out; alcohol and other drugs. There were things like Dry July, Drinkwise, Hello Sunday Morning, however a quick web search revealed no outstanding services targeted towards alcohol use.

 

Controversy and debate were also discussed and a key issue that we talked about at great lengths was the stigma associated with mental health issues. Recurring themes within this included the portrayal by media and relationships (professional and non-professional).

Based on the controversy maps, we narrowed down on an human actor; doctors. This was because we felt that doctors had the power to advocate and discuss about best practices for mental health issues with the government, community, friends and family and also the patient in order to address stigma. We then mapped out the different factors that were related to the subject of doctors.

An intriguing point that was brought up was the nature of doctors with progressive vs traditional traits. I felt that this aspect of the doctor was similarly reflective of our community’s responses towards mental health issues. People could choose to retain assumptions and stereotypes of mental illnesses or, instead, be progressive and open-minded towards mental health issues in our society. By being more progressive, the stigma and shame associated with mental health issues could be lessened, leading to more help-seeking behavior by people as well as support in the mental health sector.

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