On Tuesday 15 November we held our annual general meeting for 2016. Two members were elected as new directors on the board – Assoc. Prof Viviana Wuthrich from the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University and Ashliegh Costa, Director of Clinical Services, Ramsey Health Care in Campbelltown. We welcome the opportunity of working with them and becoming part of our extended team.
Three board directors stepped down at the AGM. They were Dr Leanne Craze, Craig Locke and Natalie Cutler. We wished them well for the future and we expect and hope to work with them in another capacity over time. The 2016 Annual report is now available on our website
At the AGM we were fortunate enough to have Prof John Snowdon (pictured) as our guest speaker. John spoke on the topic “Should we be alarmed by the recent increase in Australian suicide rates? “and he referenced his research into the coronial finding following suspected suicides.
One of the highlights for me in John’s talk was the use of the term ‘psychache’. It was coined in 1999 to describe intensely felt psychological pain – a hurt, anguish or ache that takes hold of the mind…introspectively felt mental pain of negative emotions such as guilt, shame, humiliation, fear, loneliness, helplessness, etc. Suicide occurs when the psychache is deemed to be unbearable.
Most people who die by suicide were depressed but only a minority had severe depression. Most were reacting to loss or untenable situations – psychache. We queried whether we can prevent suicide. Without doubt every suicide death highlights the importance of improving diagnosis, treatment and ongoing monitoring but it is important to keep in mind that while most people who die by suicide have mental disorders a greater percentage have psychache. We need to be able to recognise that psychache and how we can suppress it. How we can as individuals and as a community strengthen resilience to those stressors.
On behalf of all at WayAhead I wish you a happy festive season and I look forward to making contact again in 2017.