Wednesday 28th of September 2022

the science of observation and enlightened response...


Whatever the reasons for suicides, the problem is a blight on our society. In the USA, war veterans are likely to commit suicide at three times the rate than the rest of the population. The war veterans could feel abandoned, guilty of wars that have no purpose or drink themselves out of existence to forget the atrocities they saw. For children, peer pressure and inability to fit in are strong enclinators, though there are other causes...

Three of the country’s most powerful medical organisations are pleading with the federal government to take urgent action to stop the “unspeakable tragedy” of Indigenous youth suicide, following another four Indigenous people taking their own lives in Queensland last week, and in the wake of a major report into child suicides in Western Australia.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (Naccho) want an “immediate investment in Aboriginal-led mental health and wellbeing services needed to stop child deaths”.

“We are calling on the prime minister to implement a co-ordinated crisis response to urgently scale up Aboriginal-led mental health services before more young lives are tragically lost,” the joint statement said.

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Due to a sudden but quite brilliant twist of fate (we can’t tell you what just yet) Kate Mulvany will have to finish up in Every Brilliant Thing a week earlier than scheduled. Fortunately this play has its own very special way of responding to the unexpected, and we’re pleased to announce that the wonderful, tender Stevie Rodgers will be stepping into the role from March 26.

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Let’s start way back when. Mum’s depressed – she’s in a place so dark it’s confronting for a child, so her son starts compiling a list of every brilliant thing in life – a child’s reasons to help mum keep going. Now it’s 20 years later and the child’s grown up. But he’s still compiling his list. What started as a naïve way of getting through the day has become a profound truth – that the sublime can be found in the everyday.

Every Brilliant Thing is a unique and beautiful play for a solo actor, who tells his [her] story with the help of people in the audience. We’re rebuilding the Upstairs Theatre to bring the audience into a circle around the stage; at the centre, scintillating actor and veteran of the Belvoir stage – Steve Rodgers.

This gem of a show was designed to be uplifting, and it does it brilliantly. It is a pure celebration of life, played out in a simple, utterly surprising way.

Heart-wrenching, playful, it’s perfect for Belvoir.

“One of the funniest plays you’ll ever see about depression – and possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop.” – THE GUARDIAN

Supported by the Nelson Meers Foundation

Every Brilliant Thing was first produced by Paines Plough and Pentabus Theatre, on 28 June 2013 at Ludlow Fringe Festival.

Warning: This production contains references to self-harm and suicide.

If Every Brilliant Thing has raised any concerns for you following the performance, Lifeline offers a 24 hour counselling service and can be reached at 13 11 14. Additional information can be found on their website, Other services which may be of assistance include mental health advocacy organisation, Beyond Blue (, 1300 224 636), and youth mental health foundation, Headspace( You may also consider speaking to a trusted source or engaging your local GP.

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By the end of the play, we are told someting like if we have not experienced despair at least once in our life, we have not paid attention. This brilliant play about life’s up and down does not really solve the riddle of depression but tells us that we are not unique and that we should seek advice. “See someone” (a professional helper about it) says Sam (Samuel or Samantha according to who acts out the play I guess).

In general, we don’t know much or should we know something, it’s often a misunderstanding. We are fed a lot of misunderstanding about life. Life is a complicated thing and ours is full of prejudices — ours and that of others. We swim in contradictions. We have to make choices. We have to develop a thick skin and restrain our dangerous responses. Education should help kids to develop a better sense of self and of community, but talking to a sock-puppet is not enough. We need enlightement and seek happiness that is peaceful and creative. 

We need to accept failure as part of life, as long as it is not terminal and does not become a habit. We need a few successes. In suicide there is also a mix of daring mixed with despair. I have written about depression for years, and in my analysis for the little it’s worth, tells me when we are really depressed, we cannot suicide — except by default and letling ourselves "go". Suicide is not a solution to depression but when we seek a solution to the despair we encounter, suicide can become an option when trying to get out of depression. This is where we need help to manage our delusions. Having a rest and taking a breather can help in order to reset our thoughts, especially in a pressure situation when choices can be vital.

Victimisation, lack of money, pain — physical and/or psychological — hopelessness, overwork, guilt (some religions assign guilt from the time we are born so we can be redeemed) and misunderstandings can trigger hormonal reactions that lower our ability to “fight” (survive). Some people will choose to fight someone else as a reaction — a delusion that leads to dangerous idiocy and possibly more pain for someone.

We need to fight our own “depressed” self into a positive attitude, regardless of circumstances. I have advocated my own solution to myself and to others for the last 60 years: “positive anger”. Anger is the principal emotion that counteracts the hormones of “depression”. Anger will generate adrenalin. But we need to be careful: anger can be dangerous. To be a solution to depression, this energy has to be positive — possibly creative or entertaining — not destructive. We positively act in defiance of our despair. And this needs to be rewarded with a good feeling —whether successful or not. We tried and we will try again.
Then we can counteract the original problems that induced our depressed state. We can ignore them should they not be life threatening and we can seek help from family, friends (real ones — not just peers who are pushing our buttons) and professional experts, including caring employers. 

Often the lack of professional help at managing our activities — from jobs to entertainment — leave us floundering at the bottom of the barrel. Starting from a racial discriminated victim position should mostly be sorted out by the authorities providing a lot more support. Yet, governments are too involved in rules and regulations to limit liability that they often end up providing lip service, paying experts and doing bugger all.
My view would be that we can create a habit of happiness rather than one of despair, even if things are not going 100 per cent our way. At one stage we might even abandon “watching the news” because to tell the truth, the news are not about “happy” but about “problems”. Then we need to be selective about our stack of belief, by choosing proper information. The "truth" is out there... This should be done with acute perception and observations.
According to Old Gus, our focus should be on our animality. We are the resultant of the evolution of nature — like monkeys, fishes and spiders. We have an instinct of superiority, though, but this should not be a reason for dismissing nature. Nature is our life support as well as our companions' home. We should be respectful of nature. Sciences should help us along but sciences can become complicated in the nitty-gritty of this naturality — and sometimes be used by manipulators. As a defender of nature and of the planet, we should feel proud, and happy, even if we fail to convince the moronic destructors out there that they are doing the wrong thing. I know, it's a hard slog, but one that should make us feel good. The way our social structure works is more like a fog rather than a clear sky. Most people live without asking questions that could upset their comforts. Ignorance rules. There is nothing wrong with this, but the ruthless psychopaths out there will take advantage of this apathy and feed us with bullshit. 
We need to lift the fog and see. 
Easier said than done, but we shall try.

Gus Leonisky
Your local spec in time...

full of my own boots...


Preliminary exploration of happiness


I have a rat that lives in the garden. My guess is "she" is a girl rat. I'd like to get rid of her. But I can't just kill it in cold blood. Rats are intelligent beings and this one is more intelligent than most rats. It's also cheeky. Killing her would be akin to killing my pet (I don't have any — and this is why the rat loves it there). It's not a pet though. It's a wild animal and in Sydney there is about one rat per person. But not being a sewer rat, this one is cleaner than any dog or cat on the planet. Hence the cartoon at top...

the unenlightened famous people who suicided...

On this site, we don't shy talking about the unmentionable. In we investigate Robin Williams' death.  But there has been many famous people before and after him, setting what should be said A TERRIBLE EXAMPLE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. Inability to cope with what life dishes out is not a good enough excuse. Pain is not a good enough excuse.


And unless we are at life's end, 90 sumpthin' +, and we are propped up on pillows, fed by tubes and pixied by morphine injections in a hospital bed for vegetables, at the mercy and profit of health insurance providers, should we ask for mercy might be considered a resonable request. 


Beforehand we must be able to do better. we are told for example that:


Shortly after the publication of The Old Man and the Sea (1952), Hemingway went on safari to Africa, where he was almost killed in two successive plane crashes that left him in pain or ill-health for much of the rest of his life. Hemingway maintained permanent residences in Key West, Florida (in the 1930s) and Cuba (in the 1940s and 1950s). In 1959, he bought a house in Ketchum, Idaho, where, in mid-1961, he ended his own life.


Hemingway dealt with pain by using booze. Booze isn't an anti-depressant. Used in quantity above a small amount it becomes a morosing factor. 


Someone like Stephen Hawking loved life. He was in a far worse predicament than any of those celebrities who topped themselves. Stephen wanted to live. Loving life is the key because beyond what we have, there is nothing. Nothing.


Let's live.


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surviving below the bread-line...

Name: David Samuel*

Age: 54

Lives: Launceston, Tasmania

Turning point: 2008 global financial crisis, when my job was offshored

After housing costs has to live on: $170 a week

Many of us have the capacity to be or do more. We are not always able to recognise our own strengths and talents and there are reasons many of us do not reach our full potential. Some reasons are rooted deep in our past, and others are with us on a daily basis.

If our time on this earth is a metaphorical painting, made of the daily brushstrokes, or tapestry, with many individual strands threaded and knotted into our picture, we must realise that as mortals these works of art we call our lives will never be finished. The potential for creating a masterpiece, of leaving something of significance for future generations to ponder and draw inspiration from, is in all of us.

Sadly, both society and our individual capacity often fail us – we fall short of reaching our potential, and as our allocated time diminishes with each passing year, we can lose the hope and drive that keeps us working on our individual contribution to history.

Those in poverty lack the financial resources that would help them to reach further and aim higher. As readers of this series would know, one of the commonalities noted by the various contributors is that mental resources are often the most easily damaged part of life that are exhausted in difficult circumstances.


Although it has been but a few brushstrokes of my painting, or a small collection of threads in my tapestry, writing for this series has been liberating and empowering. I don’t want to be any sort of poster boy for poverty, but I will always be a better person for the life lessons I have been taught by such adversity. I have grown stronger for having played this game. I hope that others have related to, drawn strength from, or gained perspective from my words. Thanks for reading.

*Name has been changed

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is there a psychologist in the house?...

Medical professionals are burnt out, overworked and more prone to psychological distress, but when it comes to their own mental health many fear the stigma of treatment.

NSW general practitioner Dr Rebecca Black was at work when her husband, Tom, took his own life 10 months ago.

Before his death, Tom Black — also a doctor — went to great lengths to keep his depression secret from his colleagues and friends. He was conscious of the stigma.

"I feared that if I divulged his secrets that I could worsen his mental state," his wife said.

"He did see a psychiatrist, but I think he would have seen one sooner if he had not been a doctor."


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A short-cut manual
Experiencing happiness from a distressed or depressed position needs some effort. Here are 36 simple study points that can help us refocus our motivation to achieve and maintain happiness:

Where are we at now?                    
        1.    have we made the decision to seek happiness?
        2.     assess our present and past position
        3.    know self-assets including talents
        4.     formulate or re-create goals, revalue dreams

Tuning the engine
        5.    manage bio-mechanical influences on mental states 
        6.    maintain and improve health
        7.    eliminate depression, avoid distress     
        8.    minimise fear, guilt and grief     
        9.    be in tune with sexuality, personal and in partnership

Consolidating bases
        10.    secure financial and psychological fall-back position
        11.    evaluate risks, recognise dangers, avoid accidents
        12.    make the decision to be conscious of reality
        13.    avoid drugs of addiction which modify consciousness 
        14.    be curious, seek discovery 
        15.    cultivate memory and foster imagination.
        16.     be creatively active 

        17.    avoid turning motivation into negative stress
        18.    enhance analysis and synthesis skills for problems solving
        19.    be adaptable to change 
        20.    increase success rate
        21.    value success, own and that of others
        22.    know when to control and when to let go
        23.     be strongly focused without being destructively obsessive

Relationships, partnerships or marriages
        24.    be alert to manipulations of others and of our own
        25.    be aware of responsibilities, impact of decisions and choices
        26.    be aware of individuality
        27.    care for others, value compassion and justice
        28.    eradicate violence without eliminating aggressiveness
        29.    be receptive without submission
        30.    improve relationships with women and men
        31.    maximise reciprocal bonding between self and partner

A life in the universe
        32.    be demonstratively assertive through personal attitude
        34.    discover and appreciate natural events and patterns
        35.    develop stylistic creativity without prejudicial beliefs. 
        36.    enjoy life


Gus Leonisky

Your local amateur self-head shrink for the last 60 years. 

captain haddock had better watch his back

Tintin’s aging companion Captain Haddock had better watch his back. The Belgian daily Le Soir reports (in French; this is the translation from DeepL, which is usually better than Google):

This is stunning news: according to several studies conducted at the Federal Centre for Healthcare Expertise (KCE), the King Baudouin Foundation and the Heart of Inami (in a secret report), 40% of Belgians (and more Flemings than Walloons) are seriously considering maintaining the balance of social security “by no longer administering costly treatments that prolong the lives of those over 85”.

We can guess the next step: we would quickly have a two-tier medicine, between patients who have to settle for social security and those who can afford to pay for unreimbursed drugs or operations to which they would no longer have access. In the Netherlands, there is already no longer any pacemaker placed at over 75 years of age — the device far exceeds the patient in terms of functional expectancy.

By comparison, only 17% say they no longer want to reimburse the costs of illness or accident resulting from personal behaviour (smoking, obesity), a solution against which 46% of Belgians are opposed. Much more than the 35% who oppose stopping life-saving care for the elderly.

Moreover, the group’s solidarity is highly dependent on the patient’s perspectives. Thus, while 69% of Belgians consider it legitimate to spend 50,000 euros on a life-saving treatment, only 28% of them maintain this opinion if the patient is over 85 years old. In the case of a cardiac device, the two groups balance each other (50%-40%). And if the person is in a coma and the treatment only brings one year of life, three Belgians out of ten agree, except among those over 85 years of age, half of Belgians believe that “this must never be possible, whatever the age”. Dutch-speakers are much more likely to exclude people over 85 from more expensive care. “These percentages in favour of exclusion are shocking,” notes Professor Elchardus, who conducted the survey for the Inami.


"Let the old die. They are a burden on the system". Such is the view of an astonishing number of Belgians today. Do you really think it’s going to take much to convince them that it’s better to euthanize the elderly involuntarily than to simply let them die? They already euthanize children in Belgium, and a dementia patient who had not requested euthanasia was put to death by doctors at the request of her family.

Don’t get old in Belgium. That’s my advice to you.


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Read from top... I know this concept quite well though I do not have the full info on why my mother, a staunch Catholic, told the hospital staff to pull the plug on my my dad...


And by the way Tintin and Haddock are ficticious cartoon characters... and Haddoch had a massive inheritance from Rackham le Rouge...


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are you okay?...


This column of comments is extremely serious despite having a few fun bits in it, including a joke and a cartoon about a rat. It highlights the tragedy/comedy of being human — but being somewhat isolated, deceived, in pain, rejected, victimised and sad beyond recovery. Lightening up, brightening up, understanding and finding (creating) a flux of joy in being alive becomes difficult in some people's mind.

It takes about 30 seconds or less for some people (ANYONE) to become chronically depressed. There is often no time to ring or talk to anyone on a phone. Despairs sets in— usually through a latent habit of sadness, being poor, sick, suddenly added to by a total lack of comprehension of a problem (a "trigger"), even very small and unrelated to our life.

For many of us, major conflicting problems we have not solved induce sadness and despair, lie further in our "inability" to contribute to the social group and to ourselves in a constructive way. Many reasons prevent us to be feeling good — especially rejection for not being good enough to be accepted as part of the group — or not be seen, as if we did not exist. Strangely, seeking happiness can become painful if we don't make the repeat decision to be successful at it. We have to try again and again until we reach a positive outlook. 


R U OK has launched a national campaign aimed at reducing suicide rates in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, after at least 24 young Indigenous people took their own lives this year.

Three of those deaths were 12-year-old children, according to the National Indigenous Critical Response Service which works with First Nations communities to provide support during these events.

The deaths by suicide this year have occurred disparately all over the country which experts are calling a national crisis.

Yupungathi and Meriam woman Dr Vanessa Lee is the Director of Suicide Prevention Australia and has worked closely with R U OK? to develop the campaign. 

She told Hack it will be one of the first to focus on suicide prevention in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with an aim to help people start conversations and support each other.

"The recent prevalence of deaths this year highlights the hopelessness and that inability for young people to express themselves and tell us what they're feeling," she said.

"We're not hearing them, we're not listening, something's not right.

"We're seeing this discrimination, racism and bullying of Indigenous people... that needs to stop because young people aren't coping and don't know how to stop these bullies and this racism embedded into our society."

The campaign includes two Community Service Advertisements and a handbook - all of which were created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts and filmmakers.

The resources aim to teach people to check in with friends and family who may be struggling mentally and what to do if they're need help. 

Vast majority of young Indigenous people who died by suicide this year were living in poverty

While it's impossible to highlight a single cause for these alarming rates of suicide and self harm, experts have said numerous factors including poverty, racism, and trauma are leading contributors. 

Gerry Georgatos from the National Indigenous Critical Response Service (NICRS) told Hackpoverty has been a driving force in nearly all of the Indigenous deaths by suicide this year. 

He welcomed the R U OK? campaign but said living conditions in Indigenous communities also needed improvement in order to prevent further deaths. 

"Nearly 100 per cent of suicides of First Nations peoples are those living under the poverty line and the deeper the poverty the higher the rates," he said.

"What we need is outreach services which can respond 24/7.


If you or anyone you know needs help:


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All the organisations that deal with this problem are obviously not enough, despite doing a great job. There is a need for better social monitoring and help without being patronising. Help has to come in the form of providing activities and participation with rewards — including cash, rather than being hit with a stick, such as being classified as "lazy, good for nothing, drunk and some racial victimisation", which the governments are often "good at" throwing to poor people underhandedly. 

Kids are vulnerable to all of this, far more than "seasoned" adults, though some adult give up. HOPE should become a matter of scientific valuation and management of emotions rather than a godly deception (which can work as well, but is based on deception).

Hence the cartoon at top. My view. Read from top.



sciences chez les frogs...

From 5 to 13 October 2019, the 28th edition of the Fête de la Science [Celebration of Sciences] offers more than a hundred events in 50 cities. The Dordogne, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne and Pyrénées-Atlantiques: New Aquitaine is motivated to put science in the spotlight. See many highlights, all free, come to discover with your class, family, duo, solo ...

Whether you are a scientist or just curious, test your knowledge, make incredible experiments, discover the work of researchers and scientists, ask questions about the major issues of the 21st century, discuss with experts in many fields ... From October 5th to 13th , "Educate yourself"! The opportunity to discover science in a new light, images, debates, actions and emotions. Find the whole program on the website:!

Civic service in support of coordination at the festival of science, Margot le Goascoz participates in the development of this 28th edition. A fresh look, witness of a dynamic territory. "From the start, I was surprised by the diversity and richness of the displays. All areas are covered. Over the weeks, I have been able to talk to project leaders who are more than ever motivated to share sciences, their science. Without forgetting that this year, the [French] national theme is Tell the science, imagine the future, to which we added two regional subjects: Travel, and robotics."


In Dordogne, become a "hacker" by participating in digital cutting workshops, 3D printing or robotics at the cultural and social center of Marsac. Try to decipher the mysteries of stars, constellations and planets in Saint-Médard de Mussidan, or discover water in all its states in Chenaud. The "3F3M" association will offer demonstrations of cast iron refining as well as visits to its metallurgy workshops and the "Fer et Forges" [iron works] and area with its showroom. The Interprofessional Technical Center for Fruit and Vegetables of Prigonrieux will introduce you to the world of fruit and vegetable experimentation...


France is small to solve a big problem: that of the climate crisis. Friday, October 4, 150 French ordinary people, drawn by a lottery, gathered in a citizen convention for the climate, started to look at the measures to take to fight against the climatic problems. This is an unprecedented exercise of direct democracy, wanted by Emmanuel Macron to try to get away from the crisis of "yellow vests". The President of the Republic announced the launch of this new kind of body after the closing of the great national debate on April 25, promising to "find stronger method" to meet the expectations of the population.

The 150 citizens represent "the diversity of the French population," says Julien Blanchet, the general rapporteur of the citizen convention. Farmers, students, workers, executives, retired or inactive, aged 16 to 80 and from all over France depending on the demographic status of the regions, they will have to answer a unique but difficult question: how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? greenhouse gas by at least 40% by 2030, in a spirit of social justice? It will be a question of finding ways to accelerate France's climate efforts - when the country is not on the right track and its carbon emissions are starting to rise - without rekindling the spark of "Yellow vests" that the rise in the carbon tax had caused.

Friday, at the premises of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) in Paris, citizens who meet for the first time discuss their expectations, their doubts, their questions. The majority immediately agreed to participate, following a call from the Harris Interactive polling institute, which selected them from 250,000 phone numbers, although many of them "believe it was a hoax". And despite the investment that the exercise represents: six work weekends, from Friday to Sunday, spread until January 26.


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Translation by Jules Letambour


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