An Artist’s Creative Life With Bipolar Disorder

cover_3dI am very pleased to say that my book titled ‘An artist’s Creative Life with Bipolar Disorder” is finally out. Here is the link to order one or more copies: I would like to thank Victor Volkman, of Loving Healing Press  , for publishing such book and I would also like to thank all of the people that have been part of this journey, a journey that has lasted ten years while I was struggling to help many people with mental ill health on the net. Here I mention a few: my wife Cheryl Zotti; Psychologist Bob Rich who has written wonderful self help books   ; Victor Volkman of Loving Healing Press http://www.lhpress.com/ ; Dr Dean Cavanagh (GP); Psychologist Paul Corcoran;  Psychiatrist Dr David Butler;  Judy Wright;  Earnest Dempsey; Rosemary Martin;  Lewis Weir;  Professor Geoffrey Samuel of Cardiff University ; Professor Trevor Waring of the University of Newcastle  ; Professor Pat McGorry  ; Psychologist Dr Anthony Kidman who has written a wonderful book for those with a mental disorder who would like to feel better by helping themselves and putting a little effort: ; and many others, too many to mention here.  These mental health professionals are different in that they are aware that people with mental disorders can help themselves.

I would also like to thank the staff of Gosford Hospital (NSW Australia) for being so supportive and understanding and for helping my wife.

The only way I could understand mental disorders was to communicate with those who suffer, their care givers and sometimes their mental health professionals, trying to make sense of it all. It was also helpful that I suffer with Bipolar II disorder and that my wife suffers with Bipolar I disorder. I guess that this book that I have written has many messages that are not just mine but a summary of what many intelligent and creative people with mental disorders are saying. Here is what Judy wrote, to give an example:

“Alfredo, to answer your question, I’d say the most valuable thing I’ve learned is that mental illness doesn’t matter much in terms of who you are or your value as a person. It can certainly affect a relationship if left unaddressed but I admire anyone who tries to function in spite of it and recognizes when they need help. Accepting help is a sign of strength because in reality, all of us are interdependent on each other. You tell your story and it helps someone else…and so it goes. Acceptance comes with understanding.”

…and this is what I think of the book, what I feel that the main message is:

For the past 10 years I have been trying to understand and study mental disorders like Depression and Bipolar. How we treat people with mental disorders, and by “we” I mean the society, mental health professionals and sufferers alike, is something that interests me because I suffer with Bipolar II and because my wife also suffers with Bipolar I. I have been studying mental disorders for a very long time indeed and from this effort my book has emerged.

The book points to some disturbing truths about what is going on. And what is going on is that our society is basically telling people with mental disorders that they are damaged, that only anti-psychotics or anti-depressants can work to alleviate their problems. The great bulk of the mental health professionals (though there are a number of very caring and aware mental health professionals) look down on sufferers. They often believe that it is the experts who have all of the answers and sufferers are merely people who lack knowledge and who are often too handicapped by their mental disability to be able to help themselves. What is more alarming is that many people with mental disorders have bought into these ideas and now truly believe that they are damaged and that only medication can help.

For as long as pharmaceutical companies, many mental health professionals, and sufferers alike keep seeing mental disorders in this way, that there is no hope except to take medication, nothing much will change in our society. Medication has its values but it needs to be used responsibly and sensibly in the contest of a bio-psycho-social model of health. That is to ensure that sufferers have a stress free life, appropriate housing, a job whether part time or full time that suits their condition, a support group, an understanding government, and people around us who can provide support and care. Many of these things are missing in our world today. No amount of medication available will help a woman who takes anti psychotics or anti depressants drugs but who then goes back to a home of domestic violence and abuse.  It is clear that the environment and the psychological well being of the sufferer are also as important, if not more so than medication alone.

For as long as the majority of mental health professionals fail to give proper importance to childhood traumatic experiences, to the sensitivities of the person and neglect to look into child abuse or mistreatment, nothing will change.

Our world is full of stressors and it is a world that is far from an ideal one. Money seems to rule over everything else and our real treasure, our planet, is in danger; indeed we are in danger of extinction unless we change our ways and stop sabotaging our life on Earth. This is a mad world we live in and I believe that there is no such thing as sane individuals, or mentally ill ones. We all have problems and all struggle each day. We also have the potential to help ourselves, no matter what our problems or afflictions are.

We can  help those with mental disorders, but unless we stop telling them that only medication works and that they are permanently damaged and unable to live a fulfilling and reasonably happy life, nothing will change. Mental illness will go on and continue to get worse as numbers of people with mentally ill health increase. There is no doubt in my mind, after writing this book and communicating with thousands of sufferers from all over the world, that we are contributing to mental illness and even creating it each day. The moment that we realize that many people with mental disorders are special people who need support, help and encouragement to believe in themselves and their future, things will change for the better as people will begin to finally believe in themselves and help themselves towards a better life. We will be able to do the best we can with what we have. Our perspective on mental illness is all wrong and it certainly rarely leads to improvements, something that statistics have been telling us for a long time.

The only improvement is that people are becoming less and less prejudiced and this is something good. But the overall situation is worsening. We need to empower and support those with mental disorders and the government needs to do a lot more to truly support sufferers. Expecting them to work in a stigma loaded and prejudiced world is not the answer. We need jobs that are friendly to those with mental disorders and it is a fact that many may not be able to work. The welfare system needs to support those who are unable to hold full time jobs. Government need to do a lot more and it is a disgrace to see such neglect of our most vulnerable people.

To fix the problems we need to spend money in such a way that improvements are noted. Many mental health professionals know what to do and they’ve been screaming out for changes for a long while; there is a price to pay for solving the problems but the returns are worth it in the long run for to spend money today, in the right way, is to save billions in the future. And this is where governments fail because they are only interested in Band-Aid solutions and the next oncoming elections; alternatively, they fail to listen to those who have the right knowledge for appropriate change.

Most important interventions are: a) to create appropriate accommodation for homeless people with mental ill health; b) to create appropriate employment opportunities that consider the sufferers’ condition. In this sense we have a long way to go, but we haven’t really started to truly help people. Our focus is on money and material possessions not on the quality of life of the people and the planet and the importance of preserving nature. The world has truly gone mad 

 

Get a free CD with 16 fabulous  tracks for free, with the purchase of every book  either paperback or eBook http://zotti.bandcamp.com/album/music-for-alfredos-journey

Project Arc (Australian Resourceful Connections)

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I have been a composer/ piano player for many years and worked and jammed with some important musicians such as James Morrison (Paradise Room, Kings Cross, 1982), Ricky May (Hakoa Club Sydney, 1984)  Marc Hunter (Menzil Room Kings Cross Sydney 1984);and Paul Hester who was the original drummer of Crowded House but who was our sound technician for a while ater parting with Crowded House.

I have decided to donate all of the money I make, from movie soundtracks compositions and song writing, directly to The Sydney Children Hospital Foundation http://www.schf.org.au/home.aspx .

If a movie producer needs a soundtrack,  I can compose the music free of charge on condition that they make a reasonable donation to the Sydney Children Hospital Foundation.

What is so special about my music? Writing music for movies is extremely difficult. I feel that many composers overdo things today. Less is more and simplicity is the key. In addition, I am not only a musician but also good at mixing and adjusting sounds and I have good knowledge of VST plugins (virtual sound technology), and  good with computers. It is not easy to find all of these skills in one person, in one composer.  For example, this is the story of Andromeda, a script that I am now working on and I have managed to put some music to it so that I will use it as an example:

Andromeda is a young woman who has special abilities and yet she suffers with what today is known as  bipolar disorder. Till now she has felt inadequate and damaged in some way, a frame of mind that has stopped her from living her life. But one day she meets and old lady, while she was taking a walk in the park, and when she confides in her about her problem the old lady tells her that there is no bipolar as such, that bipolar is just a gift, although it is a difficult gift to live with until one understands it. If the young woman sees her personality and mind as the mind of a gifted person, the old lady argues, she will feel much better and her life will improve. Andromeda listens to the old women and discovers that by looking in the pond she sees reflections and colors in the ripples that are truly special and spectacular and these visions show her that  she has a special affinity with nature and that her difference is not necessarily a bad thing but possibly a good thing. She is very sensitive and her body trembles when she experiences special emotions.  She convinces herself that she is special, that she has special abilities and her life changes drammaticaly after that, for the better. Here is the music for the end of this scene when Andromeda realises that her gift is good not bad  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbecFTaCswo&feature=youtu.be

The amount that a producer would pay for the music, in this way,  could be a very affordable and tiny portion of the normal price that is usually charged for a movie score/soundtrack. I will write professional scores for either small combos or full orchestras (up to 40 elements) and will make absolutely no money for it provided that the Sydney Children Hospital Foundation gets a reasonable amount of money. To contact me just write in the comment box  below and I will get back to you as soon as possible with a contact number.

In addition, if anyone need an original song for their home movie, (provided that it is not used for commercial purposes)  such as a special wedding song or for any  special occasion, I will compose and record the music/song  for a small donation to the above mentioned foundation. Original music for a home made movie could cost as little as 50 Australian dollars.

Below there are links to some of  my musical compositions. This is not film music but here included just to give an idea of the kind of sounds and ideas I have. And if you like this kind of music, and you know how to download uTubes, then you can have a nice collection of relaxing music all free.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeypnwh2gk0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rebxxF6XxUw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ef3M7sBLAYE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQQsKnO39Bg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zW9pxKv50CY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKGuvncOjo8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_XlyatoHPg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQx-a947RKw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z699gVxjtDk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WX8Ng2HcLk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPXvgyXoVac

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6lPYqs3Hig

And if you would like to see me play live, here I am just improvising something simple and spontaneous on the Roland and Yamaha keyboards https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5bmPOC53Mg      and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ahJkFh6eeg&feature=youtu.be

Sarah Vaughan

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About Sarah Vaughan

One of the famous singers that I met, and who kept in touch with me for many years, was Sarah Vaughan.  I was a child when I first met her and I feel that Sarah sensed that I was a sad child. While I had first seen her at the recording studio, The Fonorama, of Carlo Alberto Rossi http://alfredo123.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/carolo-alberto-rossi-luciano-zotti/  , in Milano Italy, while she was recording the song “What’s Good For Me” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOuZHzfDElI ,I saw her a second time at the Petruzzelli Theatre, in Bari, my home town,  where my father took me there to see her sing. She was backed by her musical director, the well known pianist Jimmy Rowels, and his trio, if I remember correctly. My father worked as musical director at the Fonorama and knew Sarah quite well.

When the show finished we went behind the scenes and it was there that Sarah took me in her dressing room leaving my father and the musicians to discuss music. Sarah simply took my hand and said: enough music for today, I need to talk to this young man.  

I won’t go into the long conversation but basically, to put it in a nutshell, she told me that I was a special child and I believed her. And that, in all probability, has helped me tremendously in my life because still today I think that I am special.

I wish that parents would say this more often to their children. The power of positive thought is incredible. To tell a child that they are special is indeed an incredibly kind thing to do, something that will remain with them all of their life and help them at difficult times.

A World WIthout Love Music and Words by Alfredo Zotti

A World Without Love Music by Alfredo Zotti

This is a song that I recorded recently. It was inspired by a dream I had a couple of years back, where I imagined a group of children protesting about the fact that adults are destroying their future world. Many animal species are disappearing and we are having a very negative impact on the environment; we are greedy and most of us just care about money and material possessions not realizing that we cannot drink or eat money.

This song is part of my new album which is a not for profit album. I decided that such songs should not have anything to do with money. In this way the songs are my gift to the younger generation to say that yes some of us are not greedy and we do care about the world.

I thank my friends Frank White and his granddaughter Hailee for singing the song. Hailee is only 11 years old and she gives a special meaning to the song. Here is the link to the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh0ljChtv5E&feature=youtu.be

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In Australia today, jails are the new mental illness facilities

This below is an article from the Sydney Morning Herald. Unfortunately, while the article is  two years old, the situation today has not improved but worsened. Who is looking after the mentally ill in Australia?

Modern prescription for mental illness: go directly to jail

Date July 29, 2011
Richard Ackland

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/modern-prescription-for-mental-illness-go-directly-to-jail-20110728-1i20q.html#ixzz2pVMT4H3s

“Most are ill people locked in a system that can’t provide proper treatment.”

A comfortably-off, middle-class woman from a nice suburb suddenly finds herself at the Silverwater metropolitan remand and reception centre. She’s been charged with a serious driving offence and is awaiting trial.

The reception centre is a madhouse. It’s so crowded people are swinging off the rafters. There are three or four people to a small cell. Our middle-class inmate shares with two others.

There’s an Aboriginal woman clearly suffering a dreadful mental trauma, who spends the entire night screaming and bashing her head against the wall. There is blood everywhere.

The lady on the driving charge repeatedly calls the guard for something to be done, only to be told when someone in authority finally gets around to sticking their head in (twice in 12 hours), ”don’t worry about it”.

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The guards would have seen this sort of scene innumerable times. Someone might die, but the resources can’t cope and the system is choked with mentally ill prisoners.

A group of us who attended the most recent forum of the Crime and Justice Reform Committee heard this story from Kat Armstrong, an articulate former prisoner who nowadays works for the Women in Prison Advocacy Network.

Former District Court judge Chris Geraghty, who chaired the lunchtime session of the CJRC, said he quite frequently had to sentence mentally damaged people to jail who said their heads were filled with voices. Sending these people to prison is unlikely to improve their capacity to function. It also compounds the difficulties of daily life for other prisoners and prison officers.

Prison is a concentrate of mental disorder. These illnesses run at three to four times the rate in the prison population that they do in the unimprisoned community. About 54 per cent of women and 47 per cent of men in prison are reported as having been assessed or treated for a mental health problem. This includes anxiety, depression, psychosis and bipolar disorders. The really deeply disturbed inmates have to find room at the limited facilities of prison forensic hospitals. Ninety per cent of women in the reception centres have experienced a mental disorder within 12 months of imprisonment.

In one sense, this is not surprising because the prison population is largely drawn from people with a profile of chronic unemployment, low level of skills and education and drug and alcohol dependence. What has been quietly happening under our noses is that the prisons have become the largest psychiatric institutions in the country, but without the therapeutic resources to deal with the problem.

Prisons are not entirely full of bad people. Most of them are just ill people locked in a system that can’t provide proper treatment.

Eighty per cent of women in jail have been subjected to domestic violence, sexual abuse and drug addiction, or all three. Prisoners are released back into the community often in a more damaged condition than when they went in.

Twenty per cent of the prison population is on methadone. Prisoners who are really troublesome are given antidepressants and they wander about like zombies struggling to stay awake. From the prison officers’ point of view, they are easier to control in that condition.

It’s also pretty horrendous for most prisoners when they are released. They have no job, no skills and no money. Very soon they’re back inside. In fact, some released prisoners plan to commit a crime fairly promptly after release so they can get back to prison – the only place where there are daily certainties.

Yet what are the alternatives? There’s the MERIT scheme (Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment), which allows the Local Court to divert people with drug and alcohol abuse away from the prison system and into treatment. It applies at the less serious end of the criminal spectrum.

There’s also section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990, which also allows defendants to be diverted out of the criminal justice system. But these arrangements struggle to replace recidivism with treatment. In 2007, the latest figures available, just 1.6 per cent of defendants appearing before local courts were diverted under section 32. This does not reflect the numbers of accused, who most certainly would qualify for a section 32 order.

What is really needed is a massive injection of funds into addressing human dysfunctionality somewhere other than in the prison system. Judicial reinvestment is the buzz term.

Of course, the money is not there although there are some encouraging first steps, including a 300-bed drug treatment prison going in at the John Moroney Correctional Centre in Windsor.

At the moment conditions in the system are so dreadful that, as Kat Armstrong put it, ”You do your jail easier if you’re off your face.”

justinian@lawpress.com.au

Who is helping the mentally ill?

I find it strange that we have mental health organisations, such as the Black Dog Institute, Beyondblue, Headspace, SANE Australia, and many others,  that have not mentioned the impact that the current bed tax, introduced in New South Wales recently,  will have on people with disabilities and people with mental illness. Here is some information about it http://alfredo123.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/why-the-bedroom-tax-is-a-very-bad-idea/

And   http://alfredo123.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/will-services-reforms-especially-health-and-housing-help-people-with-mental-illness/

I was truly surprised to learn that these organisation do not know anything about it.  I am also  concerned at the kind of mental health reforms that are going to be introduced in New South Wales, where people with severe mental illness who currently live in government houses with extra bedrooms, may be about to be relocated next to unreformed criminals and in unhealthy, disruptive environments. People with mental illness, and other serious disabilities, do need to be helped and protected.

this is an interesting article about what is happening today to many people with mental illness in Australia  http://alfredo123.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/in-australia-today-jails-are-the-new-mental-illness-facilities/

AUSTERITY ECONOMICS DON”T WORK, WE HAVE EVIDENCE FROM THE EUROPEAN SITUATION.

We all need to save resources and use less energy and less goods. But this change needs to happen gradually, as technology improves, to help the capitalist system adjust to gradual and well thought changes. We need vision, innovations and new political and ideological approaches. Reducing welfare expenditure , and  attacking the consumer society, by taking money away from less fortunate people, is not the answer. It never was the answer, and it does not work.

The situation in Europe can show us why Economic Austerity does not work. Please look at European economics to find that cutting welfare and services has the opposite result: that is to create a recession and make a country much worse off in economic terms. Why is this? This is the question that we need to answer

Austerity, in economic terms, refers to policies used by governments to reduce budget deficits during adverse economic conditions. These policies may include spending cuts, tax increases, or a mixture of the two. Austerity policies may be attempts to demonstrate governments’ to their creditors and credit rating agencies by bringing fiscal incomes closer to expenditures.

The current Liberal government, In Australia, is choosing the Economic Austerity approach saying that the economy is in deficit (though Australia is rated 10th country in the world with a triple AAA credit rating).

I have studied economics for quite sometimes, enough to know that Austerity does not work and we have proof of this by looking at Europe.  Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium and many other European countries have deteriorated in all senses of the word, especially economics. Other countries like Germany and France are beginning to find themselves under economic pressures. This is because Austerity leads first to recession and secondly to depression. This is simple mathematics; poor people are not good to the capitalist system which needs the consumer to prosper. Yet, under the Austerity ideology, many governments are taking money away from the poor causing recession.

To put it simply, in the current economic environment, where Capitalism is struggling, we still need Keynesian economics and policies. This is because the poor and lower classes contribute to a different side of the economy (but nevertheless important economic sector) namely second hand goods and other goods or services which the middle upper classes or the rich either do not access or access in a very limited way. And this sector of the economy is huge in terms of billions of dollars. When we take money away from the poor we undermine this sector, which is vital for a good and strong economy. Second hand dealers and small retail shops suffer having a negative impact on the economy.

Ask any good economist, with good sense, and the majority they will agree with me.. So where is this economic austerity going to take us here in Australia? First a deep recession and secondly a depression and this will happen quickly within a couple of years. The economies of today are very complex and very difficult to manage and require gifted governments with vision that stays well away from austerity.

Will services reforms, especially health and housing, help people with mental illness?

Will services reforms, especially health and housing, help people with mental illness?

SOMETIMES THINGS LOOK GOOD ON PAPER BUT THEY SOON LOOSE THEIR LUSTER WHEN ONE SEES HOW THEY AFFECT PEOPLE.

Homeless

It is important for people with serious mental illness, including those who rely on the public mental health system for services, to know how health care reforms proposals could affect them. After health reforms, will they have better access to the services and support that they need to manage their condition or to recover?  Or will the reforms have a negative impact on their health?

With the introduction, in New South Wales, of the bedroom tax, which originated in the UK and which is now receiving a lot of negative criticism in the UK, it is important to look closely at how this tax may impact on people with mental illness who are most vulnerable. For a deeper consideration of the bedroom tax please visit this webpage http://alfredo123.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/why-the-bedroom-tax-is-a-very-bad-idea/

Other important reforms being proposed are changes to the disability pension.  While the argument to cut down welfare expenditure may have some validity and appeal, to the more conservative members of society, the fact remains that governments have a responsibility to ensure that people with mental illness are not negatively affected by the reforms. It is already difficult enough to cope with a mental illness. Statistics show that our jails are the current accommodation for many people with mental illness since the closure of institutions such as Rozelle hospital, and similar facilities, in Sydney a few years back.

I have created this page so that doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and various mental health professionals can voice their concerns.

For example, Doctor Dean Cavanagh, of Narara Valley Drive Medical Centre in Narara, Central Coast of New South Wales, argues that lately, whenever he has to ring up to ask for permission to prescribe certain potent medication, especially for mental illness (some medication need the approval of the government), he has to wait a much longer time than he used to on the phone.  We are speculating that this may be due to the fact that the New South Wales government has cut down on the staff that usually answers the phone and deals with doctors.

This is a huge waste of time and resources because we can imagine a doctor waiting up to half hour at the phone as the person over the other end of the line struggles with the many incoming calls. In this time the Doctor could possibly see three extra patients.

Another problem, noticed by Doctor Cavanagh, is that younger people with mental illness, and who may happen to be on drugs and/or alcohol, cannot be helped, at present, by the system. There are not enough beds in mental health hospitals and facilities and people who need to be taken away for a while, and helped for a few days towards some recovery, are not helped at all but turned away so that they may end up in jail or, worse, something bad may happen to them such as a young woman with mental illness being raped or young people getting into serious fights.

Statistics show that currently we are not helping as we should and that many people with mental illness end up in jail. I call on all mental health organization such as the Black Dog Institute, Beyond Blue, The University of Technology in Sydney, SANE Australia, and many other institutions, to try to do more than simply offer support and information on website. This is not adequate help and does very little to protect those vulnerable people who are in danger.

While your resources may be limited you are the only organizations that get financial supports and collect charity money. Why not try to help more directly? Single cases need help and they are not receiving it.

I work as a volunteer and help. with the support of two psychologists and one psychiatrist, hundreds of people with mental illness per year. I know the huge problems and the fact that Australia seems to have forgotten people with mental illness with the exception of a bit of effort that is not at all enough to even begin to scratch the surface of the problems.

Currently, these organisations will tell you that they don’t have enough resources and that they cannot help single cases. However, they could try to expose the problem more, by writing and speaking up, rather than fear for their position or jobs and keep quiet. This is not time to keep quiet when people with mental illness are affected in this way.

We want to know how the bedroom tax and the reforms to disability pensions and welfare are going to affect people with mental illness. So I call on all mental health professionals to please speak up and start representing vulnerable people with mental illness. If you are a mental health professional this is what I am saying to you: “It is the least that you can do, to speak of the problems and help vulnerable people, to justify your position as a mental health expert.”

Paul Corcoran, a practicing psychologist, writes:

“…The best that can be done is to apply whatever political pressure we can and to hope that good sense prevails.”

I am pretty certain that people do not have any idea about the problems that people with mental illness face. Governments should be ashamed about the state of affairs in Australia. It is an inhuman state of affairs.  At one meeting, a police officer broke out in tears and said: “please do help people with mental illness, they need help and they are not getting it. We put them in jail and they don’t belong there.” For me it is absolutely depressing to receive emails of desperation and not being able to do anything about it. What is going on?

Why the bedroom tax is a very bad idea.

Why the bedroom tax is a very bad idea

People who live in government houses know all about the bedroom tax. Put it simply, those who have extra bedrooms are going to be hit with a bedroom tax of $20 per week for single tenants and $30 per week for couples.  

The aim of this policy is to force people out of their home (should they have one or two extra bedrooms) and move them into  houses with the right number of bedrooms: one bedroom for one tenant or two bedrooms for two tenants, and so on.

This idea sounds very good and certainly a good way to put more people, currently on waiting list, into houses. And it is certain that if the government housing situation was an ideal one this would be a great idea. But let’s look at the real and serious problems.

Government houses, statistically speaking, have a lot of anti social behaviour. As a person who helps many people, on the internet, supported by two psychologists and one psychiatrist, I know that there are huge problems in government houses to do with violence, alcoholism, and anti social behaviour and here in Australia we see it very frequently on TV.

Here is a possible scenario:  a couple of older tenants, one with a mental disability, are moved out of their three bedroom house, a house in which, hypothetically speaking, they have lived for over thirty years. Hypothetically speaking, this older couple may have grandchildren who come to stay there and sometime sleep in the spare extra bedroom because their parents work shift-work.  They are relocated to another house with less bedrooms that is ideally supposed to be better for their needs.

The chance that this couple will be placed next to a person that has just come out of jail, for committing a very serious crime, is quite high. Under the privacy policy, government officials are not allowed to inform tenants that they may be moved next to criminals who may not have been yet reformed.

They may be moved in an unsuitable area were alcoholics and drug addicts may have loud music all night, terrify neighbours, and cause a lot of health problems for the vulnerable and elderly couple. I have experience of such a place because my wife and I have lived in one for many years.

According to the many people whom I help on the internet, as a kind of therapist, given my extensive experience and knowledge with sociology, anthropology and psychology, I can say that many people are very troubled and no one can help them not even the police.  Many are in physical danger and live with very troubled people who are often on drugs or are violent alcoholics.

Indeed, this is the real problem, that because of this bedroom tax introduced in a hurry, the quality of many people’s lives may take a turn for the worst. For no government official, Member of Parliament, or politician, can guarantee anything. This is the real danger when people move out of one government house and into another.And this is the fear of many people, including me, who live in a government house.

Most people who live in government houses know this and will rather pay the extra $20 or $30, possibly going without vital medication, food or some other important thing in their life, just to ensure that they are not exposed to the bullies who may be drug addicts or alcoholics and which are abundant in government houses.

This is happening now in New South Wales, people with disabilities and mental illness are being relocated, or forced to relocate, and their future is uncertain. If their lucky stars work for them, then they may end up in a good place that is peaceful where they can continue to live their life. If they end up in a bad complex or a house, nearby troubled people, then their life will change for the worse.

I think of people with mental illness, disabled people and their carers who are about to be relocated and wonder what will happen if they are relocated in a troublesome spot. Statistics indicate that a very high percentage of government houses in Australia, especially complexes, are very troubled places.

I feel that this bedroom tax could end up costing a lot more if by accident we introduce troublemakers in perfectly peaceful suburbs or move good people into troublesome areas. If that happens, demand for services like ambulance, police and the help of social workers and government official increases. This can translate in huge costs to the government. It may translate in more paperwork, more visits to the member of parliament and more trouble all around.

The idea of a bedroom tax is not a very good one. First of all vulnerable people should not be charged any money. If they are to be moved they should be helped in such a way to ensure that their standard of living is not affected and that they will resume their normal life. Can the government give this guarantee? I am afraid that it cannot be done and this is the plain truth. There is no guarantee and to this day it remains a risk.

To move people into more suitable places takes time and this policy seems to be very rushed. I will keep the readers informed and let you know how things develop in the coming months.

I urge mental health organisation to monitor people with mental disabilities and their caregivers to help them in case of problem which may rise because of being relocated.  Usually, organisations like Beyondblue, The Black Dog Institute, and SANE, will tell you that they cannot help directly.I wonderr if there are organisations that can help directly because this is what we desperately need.

They simply do not have enough resources. But maybe there is something they can do so that for once they can make a real difference in the real life of sufferers.  We do not need policies that negatively impact on people with disabilities and their carer because life its already difficult as it is. After all, we do need to take care of people with mental illness especially now that mental health reforms are being introduced in New South Wales. We hope that such reformed are grounded in reality and what people with mental illness really need. I will keep the readers informed.

Some information on the bedroom tax in the UK

UKhttp://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jan/09/bedroom-tax-loophole-exempt-liable-housing-benefit?CMP=ema_632

Antony Minghella

In my humble opinion, the best movie made by  Antony Minghella is Cold Mountain.  In this movie, he captured the depths and intricacies of life and, above all, the nature of the human psyche.

In addition to these extraordinary achievements, Antony had captured the true art of Nicole Kidman in ways no other film producer has ever been able to do. For me, the best acting of Nicole Kidman is found in this movie. There is magic happening, a magic to which all actors are tuned in: the magic of Anthony Minghella.

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This music was inspired while watching the movie.  I composed it and recorded it while thinking of Antony. I am pretty sure that he would have accepted it as the end piece for the movie, while all the names and credits scroll down, right at the end.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeypnwh2gk0