To: The Minister of Health - Andrew Little
Increased funding and awareness for publicly funded grief counseling and support
To whom it may concern. (Minister of Health - Andrew Little)
I would like to see an increase in targeted funding and an awareness drive of what services are already available for those experiencing grief over the loss of a close family member or significant other.
I would like to see those services available for an extended period of time and an extension to those already provided to some. Especially to children. I would also like to see a much more proactive approach to presenting people with comprehensive information regarding what services are available.
I would like to see an attempt to bring the toughest topic of all and how we deal with it given some open discussion and attention. An attempt to lift our uncomfortable veil from the toughest subject we can face in life - death.
Why is this important?
I see cracks in our system that we are letting beautiful people slip through every day through from no fault of their own.
There is no denying cracks are inevitable and exist in a spectrum of situations, but making sure the cracks are as small as we can is important.
For a lot of people this is the most serious thing they will ever deal with, I feel we are not doing enough.
I'm no sparkling example of a human being, I'm not here to be one either. Still, I very much notice any stories I see, or things people have shared with me about great people who are suffering with a lack of support.
Death is inevitable, and we must all face close losses at some point or other. This will affect every single one of us at some point.
For most of us, we manage find a way through it. But a portion struggle beyond recognition.
Young and old. Friends, family, adversaries, lovers and enemies alike.
I have had my own serious recent and ongoing experience with this and the process. This is experience is part of the reason I see the shortcomings and know how that can affect people's lives.
I however had the good fortune to find a way to access a partly funded service long term. This was only after a long wait with no response from referrals. It is not available to everyone.
Since this part of my journey in life began I have not been able to help myself notice many cases of special people left somewhat on their own.
Research shows health serious outcomes for unsupported or under-supported widows and widowers are very serious and potentially fatal. Even more so if prior mental health conditions are also present.
Studies not only show an marked increase in suicide rates. They also show increases in death by disease or illness in the period near the event. Deaths by things like sepsis and COPD to name only two that are common to both sexes.
Studies also show the older you are the more likely you are to experience a seriously adverse health outcome of some form.
Acute grief from close loss seriously affects people, usually long term. We rally around them in the short term, but that tends to fade off very quickly as we return to our own lives. Also we tend to get very uncomfortable trying to be that support during that stage, people generally are not well enough equipped to see someone through this alone.
It is definitely not something the worst afflicted can resolve in a short course of therapy. Any form of home support is non-existent for most.
Phone counseling services are unfortunately normally unsuited to this purpose.
It takes a long time to explain your situation and empty platitudes are of no use to someone lost in the hopelessness and existential turmoil of acute grief.
There are people who have a real need for a long term relationship with a professional therapist to see them through this, people who are not getting to.
We can do better for them. It's not their fault. They have a need for us to represent those fighting it, because one day it may well be you in that serious need. You'll never know until it's already happened.
We can at least prevent some of this if we put in the openness, effort, attention and funding in it ought to have.
How it will be delivered
I plan to email Andrew and ask for him to present the petition. If he is unwilling or unable I to plan to meet with the local electorate MP to discuss it with them personally.