Peter Truman (below, seen at right with President Themba) was the Guest Speaker at our “Hat Night”, which aims to raise funds for Mental Health Research.
Peter trained as a Psychiatric Nurse in UK and worked there as well as in New Zealand and Brisbane before arriving in Tasmania in 1991.
He said that since the 1990’s, there has been an emphasis on moving mental patients out of hospital (or ‘asylum’) and into the community, made possible by having a better understanding of the needs of patients and availability of more specific medicines. An emphasis on early treatment has been important.
Peter said: – Bipolar patients can cope well outside of hospital care, though occasionally they will need some help; – Paranoid Schizophrenia patients comprise a very small number of all mental patients, but Peter has found these to be the most difficult to deal with; – Clinical Depression patients have a limited ability to manage themselves, though they are easy to medicate for; – Reactive Depression cases appear to be increasing, possibly due to the impact of government impositions in the fight against the Covid virus; lockdowns, job losses, income loss, etc..Peter works within CAT – a part of the Mental Health Services system – located in Burnie and comprises Mental Health Nurses; Clinical Psychologists; Peer and Carer workers; Social workers; Occupational Therapists; Psychiatrists, and other specialist medical staff.
To a question from the audience, Peter agreed that the number of young people exhibiting mental disorders is definitely increasing. He sees this as a consequence of how our society has changed – for the worse, he reckons – over the past thirty or so years. These days, young people have grown up believing they can have everything immediately and it is scandalous how easy they find it to incur huge debts – without limits!