Can We Think Ourselves Sick? A twinge in your back; a sudden headache; a feeling of numbness in a limb; an inexplicable lump. Would you ignore the unusual feeling? Or assume the worst? For many Australians, just ignoring such feelings is not an option. Formerly known as hypochondriasis, illness anxiety disorder can see people become preoccupied by the possibility that changes in the body might be the sign of serious illness. They experience high health anxiety. Stephanie Huynh convinced herself that a lump in her back was cancer. When half of Slava Prakhily's face went numb, she was certain it was multiple sclerosis. Often these thoughts can lead us to consult Dr Google, in search of a diagnosis. The tendency to head to the internet when we're feeling sick is so common it even has a name: cyberchondria. But can the stress of a possible illness exacerbate symptoms? Is it just the anxiety that's making us feel worse? Or can the internet actually help? For others, the power of the mind over the body is less simple. Kimberlee Allen experiences non-epileptic seizures, but her brain scans are clear. Miranda Licence was suddenly unable to move in her legs without explanation. Just because there is no obvious cause, however, does not mean nothing is wrong. This week Insight asks: how much power do our brains have over our bodies? Is that power strong enough for us to think ourselves sick?
How are families managing severe mental illness? For many families, watching a loved one battle a severe mental illness can be a distressing experience, often involving daily ethical decisions about how best to help them. How do you manage getting treatment? How does it affect the family dynamic? What if the person refuses to take their medication or accept that they have a mental illness? What's it like to set-up boundaries and maintain vigilance as a carer? John has had to make such decisions when his wife, Luana, suffers a psychotic episode. Pat's two sons have been diagnosed with schizophrenia; one voluntarily accepts treatment, but the other does not. Madeleine and Emma-Leigh have been caring for their mother since they were young, when she struggles with her bipolar. When should psychiatrists be called in, and make decisions about compelling someone to take medication? Or to schedule them for involuntary treatment? What impact does that have on a family, and how can they be sure they're making the right choices? For their loved ones and for themselves. This week on Insight, we hear how severe mental illness is managed in the family.
Who gave a major boost to the minor parties in this election and why? Voters are turning away from Labor and the Coalition in droves, with the most recent election seeing nearly a quarter of Australians cast their ballot for minor party or independent candidates. Just last week, Senator Pauline Hanson returned to Parliament after an 18 year absence, with almost 10% of Queenslanders giving One Nation the nod. With support across the country, three of her fellow party representatives join her in the Senate. First-timers are also in, including former media personality Derryn Hinch, while more experienced politicians like Nick Xenophon and Jacqui Lambie have confirmed their popularity outside the major parties. Eleven cross benchers will join the nine Greens senators with a voice in some of the most important legislation in Australian history, including marriage equality and Indigenous recognition in the constitution. Is Australia seeing the “Trump effect”, as some experts have called it, where populist policies are providing comfort to voters amidst perceived threats and crises? Are these new politicians more relatable, seemingly plucked from of everyday life? Are the old guards of Australian politics out of touch with the wants and needs of a significant portion of the population? With swings from the Greens to Pauline Hanson, from the Nationals to Nick Xenophon, the Liberal Party to Derryn Hinch, Insight asks recent voters: why have they have come to find solace in minority representatives?
Why do so many Australians have poor literacy? We may not be aware of it, but most of us know someone who struggles with reading and writing. Around 44 percent of adult Australians have literacy levels that make everyday tasks - like filling out a form or reading a prescription - very difficult. Sadly, our numeracy levels are worse with over half of Australian adults scoring low on international surveys. Literacy standards in 21st century Australia have increased dramatically. Computers and our digital age demand high-level literacy skills, while jobs that may have required minimal reading or writing now involve extra checks and balances like filling out OH&S reports. But low literacy goes far beyond simply being able to read and write. Individuals with gaps in literacy are more likely to be vulnerable to social exclusion, and unemployment. Businesses also suffer with 93 percent of employers reporting low levels of literacy and numeracy were impacting their business. Yet despite almost one-in-two people having gaps in their literacy skills, this world remains largely hidden to those of us who are lucky enough to be confident in our reading and writing skills. This week Insight speaks to a number of Australians from all ages and backgrounds who have lived a life with low literacy in a world that assumes that they don't exist.
Who's getting ripped off at work? Around one million people in Australia are recently-arrived visa holders with work rights. There's a high demand for cheap and unregulated workers in Australia and a ready supply of foreign workers looking to earn an Australian wage. Last year, labour exploitation accounted for about a third of all human trafficking investigations conducted by the AFP. And complaints to the Fair Work Ombudsman from migrant workers have soared in recent years. Labour hire companies, which provide workers to some of Australia's biggest companies, are among the biggest culprits when it comes to rorting foreign workers. In the last year, there have been three* separate government inquiries into the industry. When does exploitation become a criminal matter? Forced labour offences were only introduced in Australia in 2013, however have not yet been tested in the courts. Many workers aren't fully aware of their employment rights and for most, speaking up about exploitation while on a temporary visa isn't seen as an option. But what happens when you do? This week Insight gathers a range of foreign workers, some now Australian citizens, who have experienced exploitation in many different industries. Is anyone being held accountable? And are we all benefiting from these practices?
It's a national problem, estimated to affect more than 600,000 Australians. It influences people's safety and their relationships and can often lead to isolation, depression and homelessness. In this episode of Insight, we examine the pull that possessions exert on all of us.
What happened to the fathers who had no say in forced adoption? The father's voice has often been ignored in the adoption process. Before the 1980s it was even common practise to omit the father's name from the birth certificate, leaving the father and his biological children on an uphill battle if they ever wanted to make contact. Although practises have changed, the scars remain and the ramifications are still being felt for many fathers and their children today. Gary Boyce's girlfriend, Jane, fell pregnant unexpectedly in 1972 when he was just 18 and she was 17. Jane's parents took matters into their own hands, preventing Gary from seeing her and making Jane give the child up for adoption. Gary was completely cut out of the process and had no say in what happened. The weight of it all caused Gary and Jane to split, and Gary has carried the guilt of what happened throughout his life. Paul Jennings was only 14 when his girlfriend became pregnant. Far too young to appreciate what was going on, he felt as though the whole situation wasn't real. He kept the news from his parents and his girlfriend was sent away to have the baby. Eight years ago Paul reached out to a post adoption support agency to find his son. We rightly hear a good deal about the mothers' experience in these situations, but what about the fathers? Attitudes and policies have changed over the years to incorporate the father's voices, but scars remain from the years in which they were left disempowered and disenfranchised. Even reunification today does not always heal them.
What can Australia's newest citizens tell us about our politics? For many Australians, the political cycle is old news. However, for one group of Australians, it's a different story altogether. Australia's newest citizens come into this election with fresh eyes on our politicians - and in some cases, a completely new set of ideas. This week on Insight, we explore what politics looks like to Australia's newest citizens. We talk to first-time voters, who've been granted citizenship between this election and the last, to hear what they'll do with their first vote. Our guests outline the issues which matter most to them as new Australians, and how their personal backgrounds influence their views on Australian democracy. When it comes to this campaign, what do new Australians see, that Australian-born citizens don't?
How would you react in an emergency? What's it like being first on the scene of an emergency? How do we react to being thrown into a situation way outside our comfort zone? Whether we're trained emergency workers or just out surfing with a mate, there are varied responses to being first on the scene. Some react without thinking, driven by a base instinct to jump in and help without concern for getting hurt. Others freeze to take stock of the situation, consider the potential dangers and weigh up the risks and benefits before diving in. Some remain aloof, or flee altogether. What would you do if a colleague or fellow student suddenly fired bullets around the room, killing and injuring many? You're near the door, a clean escape is simple, you could just follow your classmates to safety. Or do you push forward and try to stop the gunman in his tracks?
Why do some mothers leave their children? Why does a mother choose to leave her children? And what effect does that have? While mothers who leave are rare, some of Australia’s most high-profile people have had their lives shaped by this event. Our own Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull was abandoned by his mother at 10 and he, and his closest relatives, say that experience more than any other shaped him as a man. Actor Hugh Jackman was also left by his mother at age 8 and has said the feeling of abandonment was devastating. This week, Insight explores this great parenting taboo. We investigate the complex reasons that cause women to walk away from family life - mental health issues, ambition, bitter custody battles and personal freedom, to name a few. We speak to these mothers about their difficult decision, and why they felt it was the best choice for their families. We hear from the children left behind about the pain of abandonment. And we look at whether the mother/child relationship can be repaired after the trauma of separation. And what happens to these kids when they become adults?
What happens to the kids in international parental-child abduction? Drawn out, messy international custody disputes can leave families broken. The actions of one parent - taking a child (or children) without the others parents' knowledge - are often devastating, leaving the left-behind adult emotionally and physically exhausted from the fight to get their child back to Australia. But how does all this affect the children who find themselves at the centre of these disputes? When Amanda was just 11, her father knocked on the front door of her mother's Perth home. It was 6am, she was watching cartoons and her mother was asleep. Amanda had not seen her father for over a year when he threw her under his arm and took her to the US. She didn't see her mother for over 7 years after that day. Gaudi was taken to Barcelona by his father when he was 18 months old. Not long afterwards, his Australian mother organised to snatch him back - with the assistance of a television crew. The trauma of the incident has affected the rest of his life. We often hear these stories from the perspective of the parents. This week on Insight, we hear from the people who were abducted as children. What's it like to have your whole world turned upside down? How do you learn to live in an entirely different culture? What's it like when you reconnect with your left-behind parent after years apart?
What happens when your identity is challenged by family secrets? Family plays a major role in determining who we are; they shape our values and perspective on life. But what happens when life throws you a curve ball and a long-hidden secret reveals you are not who you thought you were? Jennifer Teege knew she was adopted but it wasn't until she was 38 that she discovered who her grandfather was: the infamous Nazi commander Amon Goeth, who wreaked terror on the Krakow-Plaszow concentration camp. Given her mixed ethnicity, it's likely he would have shot her. Lois Buch grew up in a loving home but didn't meet her biological mother until she was in her 20s. They formed a good relationship, but there was one terrible secret her mother was so determined to keep from her, she would take it to her grave. The truth, when it came out a few years later, was unimaginable. This week on Insight, we speak to five women who discovered life-changing information about their true identities and where they came from. From discovering unexpected ancestors to uncovering their true ethnic origins, these women take us on their journey of self-discovery, against the odds.
How much sleep do you really need, and what happens to your body when you don't get enough? Insight is an Australian current affairs forum, with lively debate and powerful first-person stories. Hosted by award-winning journalist Jenny Brockie. (An SBS Production) CC
That Old Question There are currently more than two million Australians aged 70 years and over. What are the care and housing options available to us in our later years? How do we decide what is right for our ageing families, and what do older Australians want in their later stages of life? Insight brings together multiple generations to highlight how they're tackling the issue of aged care, and how they're making it work.
Does Your Dog Love you? Animal psychologists say dogs have the emotional and cognitive intelligence of a two year old. Though if you ask any pet owner, they will instinctively say that their four-legged companion "loves" them. More than that, people report their dogs show "empathy" when they're upset, and can suffer from anxiety, compulsive behaviour, and depression. But could this just be humans projecting their own feelings onto their pets? This week we look what science has to say about dogs' emotions and delve into what our treatment of them says about the human psyche. Where should we draw the line with humanising our furry friends?
What’s in the best interest for Aboriginal kids at risk? National figures suggest Indigenous children are being removed from their parents at a rate greater than any other time in recorded Australian history. This week, we put them front and centre to have their say. There are more than 15,000 indigenous kids in out-of-home care, and they are almost 10 times more likely to be in care than non-Indigenous children. Some claim we're at risk of repeating the experience of the Stolen Generations. Others say that comparison isn't useful, and that the traumatic history has meant Aboriginal kids are too often being left in harm's way out of fear of claims of racism. Indigenous children are seven times more likely to be the subject of substantiated reports of abuse or neglect. Legally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids are to be placed in order of preference with extended family, the child's own Indigenous community or other Indigenous people. But as of June 2014, about a third of Aboriginal kids in care across the country were not placed with Aboriginal carers (with even higher rates in the Northern Territory and Tasmania). In this rare discussion, young Aboriginal adults who've been through care share their experiences with Insight and explain what they would've liked growing up, as well as what they want for their own kids.
How do you negotiate sex with a serious disability? Imagine: you've been married to your partner for 25 years. You live with them, love them, are sexually attracted to them, but physical intimacy? Almost impossible. This week, Insight is looking at two issues that are definitely not mutually exclusive: sex and disability.
How much control do we have over guns in Australia? 28th April, 2016, marks 20 years since the Port Arthur massacre. The incident sparked sweeping changes to Australia's gun ownership laws, changes that have been mostly heralded as a ground-breaking example of effective gun control legislation. Insight asks is enough being done to control guns in Australia? How should the current government act?
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