Friday, February 01, 2008

Mental, dental and homeless

“We don't believe it is something which a country as wealthy as ours in the 21st century can just ignore. I don't want to live in a country where we simply discard people.” Kevin Rudd

There are considered to be 100,000 people homeless on and given night in Australia, okay a drop in the bucket in US terms, but for our small population. Well Kevin Rudd is taking the problem on, and in the effort addressing another long seeping sore, the closure of psychiatric facilities.

One of the legacies of economic rationalism was to cast mental patients into the community, with minimal support. Research is showing they make up a significant number of our homeless population.

Another area that surprised me was dental care. Even the most careful Australian have dental problems because of the lack of vital elements in the water and soil of this ancient land. But poor teeth were cited as a second reason for homelessness.

The mental health issue was highlighted again this week when a young woman was killed in a car crash. The driver of the other car should never have been behind the wheel, but thee was no one to supervise his activities. The woman’s family forgave him, but they aren’t forgiving the governments who took away that vital supervision.

Kevin is talking the talk, revealing information we might have suspected but never knew. It will be an exciting year if this government starts delivering. If not I will be looking for sponsors for an immigration application.


D.K. Raed said...

I suspect I'm missing something in the path from dental problems leading to homelessness. Is your dental care so costly a person must take out a mortgage to finance a filling? Is there no fluoride toothpaste there? Just wondering ...

Consider yourself lucky; our prez doesn't even give lip service to homelessness. Let's hope your Kevin addresses the root of the problem, not just the foiliage.

Cart said...

d.k. the dental link troubled me. I'm told it is seriously debilitating and effects job prospects etc.
Yes we have flouride toothpaste and it is added to drinking water. I don't think that is the whole issue. Our old land is so leached of nutrients I suspect there is a bundle of missing elements leading to dental problems.
I grew up in pristine bushland on creek and tank water. I brushed regularly, though I don't think Bucky Beaver did flouride back then. I grew up with teeth like chalk sticks. It is a common story here.
But Kevin is addressing the remedial side even if he can't change the lack of our natural elements. I do consider myself lucky, until Kevin screws up ;)

D.K. Raed said...

aaah, I see the path now! It was bothering me, what WAS the connection!?! Then it hit me, many homeless people do seem to have bad teeth (ie, missing or rotten). And now I can see where that might limit one's job potential. Maybe one path to homelessness could be averted with affordable dental care?

I feel fortunate. Once my baby teeth fell out, I had to have 12 of the permanent ones removed in order to make room for the adult chompers. I REALLY take good care to maintain my BIG smile! For me, it's all genetic, obviously descending from a long line of very large-toothed ancestors.

I did not realize Australia is an "older" land mass, leached of vital nutrients. Makes sense, though, and accounts for the vast desert interior. You are full of information!