Letters to the Guardian

Proud Little Town

Funny how it all unfurls

As if, it’s been rehearsed 

First a little upset

Then a loud outburst 

And tears are overflowing

Watch them running down

For there’s one less Aussie hero 

In our proud, – little country town

***

Well he’d march to pipe and drum 

Revered the bugle sound 

Held that minute of silence 

For his comrades skyward bound

He gave his all for freedom 

Then he laid his weapon down

Now slowly numbers disappear 

From our proud, little country town

***

He covered for that weary pain

As he held it all inside 

He may camouflage a shrapnel wound 

But he won’t disguise the pride

May our proud flag, – rest upon him

Like the ultimate wedding gown 

Now there’s one less Aussie hero

In our proud, – little country town. 

     Ossie Clarke

Concerns over 13 Reasons Why

Dear Editor,

I am writing on behalf of headspace to address growing concerns raised by schools, parents and young people across Australia about some content featured in US Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.

The series – which debuted in Australia in late March and is currently streaming on Netflix - depicts a young woman who suicides. It presents the viewer with very confronting and graphic messaging and imagery inclusive of suicide method and means. Since its debut both the national headspace School Support Program, which supports school communities in the aftermath of a suicide, and eheadspace, the national online and over-thephone counselling service has received a growing numbers of calls and emails directly related to the program.

The show exposes viewers to risky suicide content and may lead to a distressing reaction by the viewer particularly if the audience is children and young people. National and international research clearly indicates the very real impact and risk to harmful suicide exposure, leading to increased risk and possible suicide contagion. Clinicians working for eheadspace have been dealing with a steady stream of concerned parents and young people since the show first aired.

There is a responsibility for broadcasters to know what they are showing and the impact that certain content can have on an audience – and on a young audience in particular. headspace School Support and eheadspace is urging school communities, parents, and mental health services to be aware of the dangers and risks associated for children and young people who have been exposed to this content. The national suicide media initiative, Mindframe, also has significant concerns and warnings related to this content.

Please see the following links for helpful information for schools, mental health services, and parents if they are aware that children or young people have been exposed to the content and have expressed concerns around their own mental health, distress, or suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Managing social media following a suicide: https://headspace.org.au/assets/Uploads/Corporate/Managing-social-media-following-a-suicide-web.pdf Grief –

How a young person might respond to a suicide: https://headspace.org.au/assets/Uploads/Corporate/Grief-How-young-people-might-respond-to-a-suicideweb.pdf

How to talk about suicide with a young person: https://headspace.org.au/assets/School-Support/How-to-talk-about-suicide-with-young-people.pdf

Kristen Douglas

National Manager headspace School Support headspace

ANZAC Day in the Riverina and Central West

Each year we pause as a nation on the 25th April to remember. We are humbly united in gratitude, with grateful thanks for those who have served and continue to serve in our defence force.

We reflect on the sacrifices of those who died in the midst of battle and we shudder to think about the physical, emotional and mental wounds borne by those who did return. The devastating impact war has on the soldiers, sailors and airmen and women who fought and continue to fight for our country is immeasurable. It is however, the high price paid to ensure we all live in the lucky country, a land of peace, freedom and individual liberties we so often take for granted.

As we continue to mark the Centenary of ANZAC, we remember those who gave birth to modern Australia, the Diggers whose sense of mateship, larrikinism and loyalty left a proud tradition which defence personnel proudly keep alive today. 

It is important we never lose sight of the human cost of war and I encourage everyone in the Riverina and Central West to participate in an ANZAC service in their home town or village this ANZAC Day. Attend a march, pause and listen to the chilling sound of the bugle as the Last Post is played, remember and give thanks for the lives and service that others gave so we may enjoy today.

By ANZAC Day everyone in the electorate should have received my annual ANZAC Day commemorative booklet. I encourage you to read through the stories of local heroes from across the Riverina and Central West, as well as the winning entries from school students who have reflected on what ANZAC Day means to them. The booklet also includes times of local ANZAC services across the electorate. This and every ANZAC Day may we commit to always remember them. Lest We Forget.

Micheal McCormack MP