Posted by: JT | June 21, 2010

The low down on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Mental Illness. Many might think that people with mental illnesses have weird faces, can’t cope with normal life, they have to live in a hospital, or they are very abusive. However this stereotype is wrong. Around 20% of adults are affected by a form of mental illnesses every year- that means that 1 in 5 of the people you know might be struggling with one right now! Anxiety is the most common mental disorder to affect people, with 14% of the adult population affected every year. Depression closely follows, with 6% of adults being affected.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a form of anxiety disorder. After a traumatic event, such as a serious car accident, natural disaster like a bush fire, assault, or war etc, around 25% of people will develop PTSD. Around 6.4% of Australians have PTSD in any one year. It can affect people of any age. People who are already anxious, who experience an extremely traumatic event, and who feel like they are “not there” (‘dissociating’) during the event are more likely to develop PTSD. Most people can return to their normal life after a couple weeks of talking to family and friends and ‘working through their emotions’. If after more than 4 weeks, the person is still having flashbacks of the traumatic event, nightmares, feeling emotionally numb, avoiding situations that could remind them of the event and feeling anxious and ‘jumpy’ for no apparent reason, they may have PTSD. Then the person needs to see their doctor, a psychologist, or other health professionals.

One of the problems with PTSD is that people begin to avoid situations that might remind them of their trauma, and this could mean they can’t have their normal life. For example, if they were assaulted at night, they might refuse to go out in the evening. They might also turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the anxiety symptoms.

Treatment can include certain antidepressant medications, which also help with anxiety, and psychological therapy. In therapy, they will probably be given graded exposure and relaxation training. This means they are asked to remember increasingly distressing aspects of the traumatic event while learning how to reduce their anxiety. They may also be helped to process the memories in a more helpful way.

Overall, we need to remember that the difficult symptoms that people with PTSD experience are not things they choose to have and family and friends need to be patient with them. They need to be looked after and be loved. Treat them as you would any of your friends and try to help them as much as you can.

Remember, having a healthy lifestyle may make it less likely that you will develop a mental health disorder, or at least help you cope best if you have one. Exercising regularly is crucial for mental health, as is relaxation and having a good support network. Be careful not to use alcohol, drugs, or unhealthy food to cope with difficult emotions, instead, see your GP or counselor and learn good ways of handling them.

Charlotte (8PDHPE)

Posted by: JT | June 18, 2010

Feeling Blue? Learn more about Depression

Do you see people looking sad for long periods of times? Do you feel guilty not helping them? Around 20% of adults are affected by some sort of mental disorder every year. Most of them do not have any family members with the illness. Mental illness itself is not life threatening but proper treatment is required for full recovery. Depression is one of the many mental illnesses known. It can affect adults, teenagers and even children!

Depression is a medical condition. Physical and psychological symptoms can interfere with the way a person functions every day. This leaves them feeling low throughout the day. Depression affects the way someone feels and they can struggle to cope with everyday life but there is good news. Symptoms of depression hurt the person but they generally react positively to proper treatment.

Symptoms play a major part in indentifying any mental illnesses. Some symptoms for depression include : feeling low or extremely sad, disturbance to normal sleeping patterns, loss of interest or motivation, change in appetite or weight and impaired thinking or concentration. These symptoms are vital in recognising depression. If your friend has been feeling low for more than 14 days, they may have depression.

Depression is caused by several things. Firstly, it can be caused by stressful situations. Their minds may not be able to cope with a loss or immense stress from work leaving them depressed. Sometimes women experience it following the birth of a child. Depression can also be part of an illness like bipolar disorder. Those affected by bipolar disorder will experience extreme highs then lows without any reason. While feeling low people suffering may become depressed. Sometimes depression can be caused by things not due to outside causes. This may be caused by chemical imbalance in the brain making them unable to distinguish what is real. Chemical imbalance can be caused by hormone change, drug abuse or even stressful life events.

Treatments can vary according to the cause of depression. Medication can be taken to assist the brain to restore its usual chemical composition and help control symptoms. Individual therapy may also be used. A doctor or psychologist may talk about their symptoms and discuss ways of coping and alternative ways of thinking. Support programs are also in place for those suffering this mental illness. This support may include helping them find suitable work, training, education and rehabilitation. Making them feel like they are worth something and part of the community is very important to their recovery. Sometimes electroconvulsive therapy can be helpful too.

Depression can be prevented by eating well, plenty of sleep and regular physical activity. 6% of all Australian adults suffer depression. This is not significant as mental illnesses are common in our world. Mental illness does not make you violent. People think a stereotypical guy with a mental illness is a violent and unpleasant looking face but the fact is anyone can get a mental illness. Research shows only a small percent of people with mental illness are violent. The majority are victims of violence or self harming themselves. Instead of avoiding them, thinking they are crazy lunatics, we should be helping them and making them feel like part of our community. The next time you see someone feeling down, keep an eye on them because anyone can get depression.

Kingsley (8PDH)

Posted by: JT | June 9, 2010

Walk safely to school day – a review

Walk safely to school day is an annual event aimed at primary school children. It is a community event seeking to promote Road Safety, Health, Public Transport and the Environment. By organising this event it plans to:

  • Encourage parents to walk to school with primary school children and teach safe pedestrian behaviour.
  • Promote the health benefits of walking and help create regular walking habits at an early age.
  • Ensure that children up to 10 years old hold an adult’s hand when crossing the road.
  • Help children develop the road-crossing skills they will need as they become mature pedestrians.
  • Reduce the car dependency habits that are being created at an early age and which will be difficult to change as children become adults.
  • Promote the use of Public Transport.
  • Reduce the level of air pollution created by motor vehicles.
  • Reduce the level of traffic congestion.
  • Inform the newer Generation how to get into a healthy routine and the benefits of continuing it.

It manages to empower individuals and communities to take part in this annual event by advertising on T.V., radio and posters in the area. They have made temporary tattoos and stickers to give out to young children to help get them more excited about being involved.  It encourages today’s youth to keep healthy and get involved, by encouraging the kids to partake in this activity they will get their parents to as well. This sets a good example for future generations. I think that they could introduce some new ways to complement this including more advertising, so everybody knows when it is and what it is, have school workshops designed to promote road safety and the importance of it, or turn it into a fundraising event to help people in need, this will also contribute to making it a more nationwide event. With more people informed the wider this event could become.

I think that this Promotion Initiative will be successful in achieving what it has set out to do because young kids will like the freedom and challenge of being able to walk to school and parents can make some time to get out and exercise, it could also be good bonding time for families as they walk their children to school, it gives them time to not think about work and other commitments. If walking to school is too far take the car and stop a few blocks short of the school and walk the rest of the way. This way you will still be participating in the event and not having to walk too far. For adults who don’t have children you can also walk to work or take public transport to lesson motor vehicle congestion. It’s good for your health and puts you in a routine to get fit.

Karina (10PDHPE)

Posted by: JT | June 9, 2010

Slip, Slop, Slap – an review

The Slip, Slop, Slap campaign is a health campaign in Australia aiming to urge Australians to cover up in the sun. Hence the name – Slip (on a shirt), Slop (on sunscreen) and Slap (on a hat). The main aim of this campaign to is make people aware and consequently protect Australians from skin cancer. It achieves this by advertising campaigns involving a mascot seagull named Sid. This campaign provides a way for people to be aware of the facts about sun cancer and a simple way to reduce the chances by covering up. Through simplicity the campaign empowers individuals by encouraging them to cover up and through a wider audience in the community by using clever advertising campaigns including simple and easy to remember slogans and shock-advertising to warn people about the effects that skin cancer can have upon a person. Over the years, various new implements have been implemented to improve the campaign – this includes an addition to the slogan, which at its current is “slip, slip, slap, seek, slide”. Seek is for ‘seek some shade’ and slide is ‘slide on some sunglasses’. To prepare for the snow season the campaign has made a slogan “slip, slop, slap, seek, slide – slopes” to make people conscious of putting sun protection on the snow fields, as “fresh snow can reflect as much as 88 per cent of UV”. Since the Slip, Slop, Slap campaign the amount of the two most common types of skin cancer – basal-cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma have decreased, although the all too common (and most lethal) melanoma has increased. Although the campaign has produced relatively positive results, a negative impact from the campaign is that Vitamin D deficiency has increased caused from the skin not receiving enough sunlight and this can ultimately lead to all forms of cancer. Although this campaign is not responsible and directly related to this lack of deficiency it is certainly no coincidence that Vitamin D deficiency has increased. Having said this Slop, Slap, campaign has helped in both informing and preventing Australians from skin cancer.

Josh (10PDHPE).

Daffodil Day is when people and groups in the community sell merchandise in order to raise money and awareness about cancer suffers. They are effective in bringing alertness to the processes that cancer patients go through, but they are lacking in educating the community about the symptoms and prevention of cancers.

In the month of August Daffodil Day will commence and many will flock to buy the Daffodil Day merchandise. Some of the items include bears, pens and badges. They are empowering the greater community to be a part of this momentous day. Their website is very effective in giving cancer suffers and their family support. The website has links to help people chose the right type of treatment for them or their original family. The symbol of Daffodil Day is a yellow flower and this was purposely chosen. A daffodil is a beautiful, bright and bold flower that symbolically represents strength and durability. During winter this flower is known to survive in the coldest and wettest conditions and still this unique flora comes out of it all stronger than ever. Like the Daffodil cancer sufferers are going through a tough season. They are struggling through what many see as unimaginable. To the founders of Daffodil Day, they saw it as a day of deliverance from past suffering. A tremendous amount of support is generously poured out to all of those affected by cancer. Daffodil Day gave $49 million toward cancer research in 2008.

Although this day is a time of help for the greater community, Daffodil Day doesn’t give enough information about the symptoms and prevention of cancer. With education not being given, many are putting their health at risk. People need to know if their diet or exercises are not suitable for them. They need guidelines so that less people will be affected by cancer. Without prevention our country will become taken under the hold of cancer. Cancer is a devastating disease that can tear apart families. We need to do everything we can to prevent this sort of outcome.

Therefore we can see that a fundraiser such as Daffodil Day can be both a hindrance and a benefit for our community, state and country. We can see that education is vital for prevention of cancer and we now know that the money that goes towards research is making a tremendous affect on finding cures.

Hayley (10PDHPE)

Posted by: JT | June 9, 2010

QUIT – A review

Quit Australia aims to eliminate pain, illness and sickness caused by tobacco. They want to provide a way in which people can help each other to quit smoking. They want to educate the public about smoking and the harmful effects that can result from it. They petition the government to be more prevalent about these issues affecting Australians. It educates smokers about the consequences that smoking has on your health and on your family. It also gives information for family members who want to help others quit smoking. The most important service they provide is the Quitline which is an anonymous hotline which smokers can call if they need any help with their problem. They employ professional counsellors and doctors to help sufferers. Also, they work together with the Australian Government to produce advertisements and health warnings on cigarette packets. The graphic warnings are aimed to stop people from smoking.

Through advertising, they encourage people to quit smoke because of the consequences involved. It wants to educate people to know that smoking is not a healthy option for their life or for their children. Because a large number of Australians smoke, they aim to reduce this number and to free up some of the space in our hospitals. It also wants to influence a smokers behaviour to help change their habits.

Some strategies that have been used to help this campaign include:

– Introducing cigarette packs without labels to reduce the amount of cigarettes being sold and also to stop people from being tempted

– Education in schools about the effects and consequences of cigarettes

– The banning of cigarette sales or any ads being shown in public places

– Restriction of cigarette smoking in public areas and various eateries

– Tougher laws to govern and tax smokers because they make up a huge part of hospitalisations

They could also in the future encourage smokers to pay for their own health insurance, subsidisations for non-smokers

This Health Promotion Initiative is successful because the graphic and disturbing advertisements have caused people to rethink the effects of smoking. Also, through cooperation with the government, they have helped to lower smokers in Australia. The campaigns that they run educate people especially the younger generation. Also, their information is clear and concise which means that everyone can understand. As a health promotion initiative, they aim to reduce cigarette smokers in Australia for the wellbeing of all people. It is also successful because it has stopped many of the ads and placed restrictions on smokers to try and stop them as well as establishing an anonymous hotline to help people quit.

Joseph (10PDHPE)

Posted by: JT | June 1, 2010

The health of young Australians

Health in Australia has a number of negative aspects. These aspects include body weight, mental health and drug use. Physical activity is discussed here and it can be seen as a positive or negative aspect. One may postulate that there are some definitely positive aspects; however, these are not discussed here.

Body Weight

For young Australians body weight is a problematic issue of health. Research has found that 22 – 27% of young Australians are overweight or obese. Many would consider that this statistic is too high. For more than one-fifth of young people to be overweight, and, when obesity can be seen as a serious health problem, a great amount of young Australians could be seen as being at serious risk of health problems. This issue is further proved by the statistic that 54% of young people are of ‘acceptable weight’. For only almost half of the population to be considered to have a healthy weight and for that other (almost) half of the population to not have a healthy weight is a problematic issue once again. Therefore, young Australians’ body weight is a problematic aspect of health.

Mental Health

For young Australians mental health is also an issue of concern. Studies have found that 27% of people aged 18-24 were found to have a mental disorder. Once again, for almost one in three young adults to have a mental disorder is an alarming statistic, proving that mental health is an issue of concern among young people. If suicide is considered as an aspect of mental health, and if the statistic that the suicide rate rose by 40% between 1979 and 1998 is considered, one may be concerned by this aspect of health. And thus, mental health is also an issue of concern for young Australians.

Drug Use

Another negative aspect of health among young Australians is drug use. The statistic, that, in 1998 the death rate from drug dependence was approximately 5 times the 1979 rate shows how problematic drug use has become. This is further seen in that 38% of young people admitted to using marijuana in the past year, which is an incredibly high number. Also, after a study was conducted it was found that 9% of males were cannabis and opiate dependant. This is alarming if one considers that this means that nearly one in ten males are dependant on certain drugs. Therefore, drug use is another negative aspect of health among young Australians.

Physical Activity

Physical activity in young Australians can be considered as a positive and negative aspect of health. Research conducted in 2004 has found that almost 80% of boys and 60% of girls in year 10 participated in at least one hour of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity per day (which is the recommended amount). This statistic is quite high and can be considered as quite a positive one. However, a study conducted from 2004-2005 has found that around 50% of males and 30% of females aged from 15-24 years old, accomplished the recommended levels of physical activity (suggested by the national guidelines) “to obtain a health benefit”. This statistic can be considered as a negative one, as, one in two males and one in three females is a very low number for recommended levels of physical activity achieved by the population. Therefore physical activity is an ambiguous aspect of health in Australia.


And so, health in Australia has quite a few negative aspects. These include body weight, mental health and drug use. However, physical activity is not an obviously positive or negative aspect.

Jerry (10PDH)

Posted by: JT | June 1, 2010

The case for greater health promotion funding

Greater funding is a critical aspect for health promotion. Based on the fact that there is still a high percentage of people dying from motor vehicle accidents. i.e. the 17-25 year age group represents 16% of the population, but makes up 33% of road fatalities, and the fact that smoking is still responsible for almost 25% of the burden of disease attributed to modifiable health behaviours in Australia, makes it obvious that something is not being done properly to improve the impact of road injuries and tobacco use.  It is Australia’s duty to incorporate some of the Ottawa Charta’s ideas to address good health promotion.

Supplying more money to dependable organizations specialised at health promotion could potentially decrease expenses needed for various health facilities, such as hospitals, because by supplying more money to health promotion, people would be more familiar with how to conduct themselves to prevent road injuries and make good tobacco related choices. Thus, less funding would be needed and the left over money can be saved and used for other funds.

Official surveys have estimated that road safety campaigns save 1000 lives and 5000 hospital admission each year.  To create a more salubrious and safe society, more money could be funded into Road Safety health promotion campaigns to could significantly decrease the number of deaths induced by poor road safety, seeing as the death of young drivers allocates to a slight majority of over all deaths in Australia. Promoting safety precautions on tobacco, can reduce a number of diseases instigated by tobacco use such as  cancer, cardiovascular disease and pulmonary diseases can be reduced as well.

Indigenous Australians and Immigrants may not be educated on these topics by schools or parents, so it is important that they are aware of the adverse effects of Road Safety and Tobacco usage on their health. Health Promotion would require a lot of funding to extend their campaigns to desolate areas, but it is crucial that their information is passed on, to minimize the overall death toll in Australia.

In a simplistic overall summary, increasing the funds towards road safety and tobacco use can dramatically reduce over all death rates in Australia because it eliminates major causes of death, i.e. cancer and young drivers.

Timothy (year 11)

Posted by: JT | May 25, 2010

The health of young Australians

The health of young Australians is falling quite dramatically. Both their physical and mental are declining as they are not receiving and applying the right knowledge. There is another aspect of their health and this is their sexual health. All three of these areas are majorly affecting our young people at this day and age.

For many years the physical health of Australians has been monitored very closely. Many statistics are telling us that we need to pay more attention to the 6% of Australians that are under weight. Anorexia Nervosa is the third most common chronic illness for adolescent girls. In further study they found that 50% of the girls with an eating disorder also suffer with depression or severe anxiety. Obesity is another growing concern in the physical health of Australians. Obesity affects every young person in some way. Most young people have a friend or family member that is affected by this overpowering physical disease.

The mental health of Australians is alarming and there is a growing rate of men and women with depression. It is said that 14%-30% of females and 13%-17% of males suffer depressive periods. Also the rates of depressive disorders are 3 times higher in young females than young males. Many are not informed at the rate of young people who suffer with this or other mental diseases such as epilepsy and autism.

Young people have struggled to stay pure and this has affected the rate of STI’s in our young people. The main sexually transmitted infection is Chlamydia and the amount of notifications for Chlamydia and Gonococcal infections have increased from 1991 to 1998. This means that our generation are not properly informed about the affects of sexual interactions.

Therefore we can conclude that the young people of Australia are suffering in the areas of their physical, mental and sexual health. This can be helped by informing and education our generation. From this information we can understand what they are going through and how we can help them.

Hayley (10PDHPE)

Posted by: JT | May 24, 2010

Resistance Training for American Football

Most players in the NFL or even in the NCAA want to improve their speed and overall strength to attain the ability, when game day comes, to absolutely destroy the man in front of them. The major muscle groups upper and lower body that would be worked to improve size and power in would be you Shoulders (deltoids), Arms (biceps and triceps), Chest (pectorals), Legs (quads and calves) and probably your glutes as well.

40 yard dash times are important in keeping up with the players ability to run as fast as they can for this distance. Say if a player is running a 6 second 40-yard dash time and wants to improve this greatly. Utilizing what is called a “Sled” can improve your dash times by adding more weight for your body to pull. If you can run a 40 with a sled on your back in 6 seconds, then you can shave of at least a second without the added weight for your body to pull.

The short burst that is needed to come out of a Defensive lineman or Offensive lineman’s stance is crucial for those first few steps on who gets the advantage. The power from the legs and hips of the defensive lineman generate the power through the upper body to deliver that powerful push off or bench press style movement. A great exercise for this can be squats with a barbell (added weights onto the barbell).

For Defensive lineman again having use the power lifts (dead lifts, bench press, Squat) will greatly improve their strength for the skills they need in a game. Also using a medicine ball and throwing it against a wall can also have a great effect on the “punch/push out” that the athlete has. These exercises can build a lot of mass to gain leverage. If you can bench or squat 200kg, you can easily manhandle a 120-150 kg Offensive lineman.

Cone drills- sled’s or using a bungie cord or rope attatched to the player having run 10 to 20 seconds working on footwork and quickness. Using sleds etc can build up the speed and correct form of footwork.

Basically the number of reps and sets you would want to do are low level reps with high level weights and high sets. Say bench press you would want to maybe do 4 reps of 100kg for 4 sets. Builds muscle mass and the intensity is very high. Strength training has been emphasized on American football training for many years because of the increased demand from larger and stronger players.

Daniel (12SLR)

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