Monday, March 14, 2005


Mental Health Conference To Be Held In Casino

On September 2nd, 2005, the Gold Coast Institute of Mental Health will be holding the 6th International Mental Health Conference at Conrad Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast. Its theme will be "What's new in mood disorders?"

Although regrettable, it is far from unusual for such events to be take place at elite, five star venues with attendance fees and venue security calculated to discourage all but the very well heeled from attending. However, in choosing Jupiters, the organisers of this conference have set a new standard of exclusivity and poor taste.

Jupiters Casino is one of the country's chief promoters of a mental disorder that afflicts almost 400,000 Australians and directly affects many thousand more - compulsive gambling. Over 90% of suffers report depression due to their gambling and one in five will attempt suicide. Every year, over two dozen succeed in killing themselves.

To hold a mental health conference at Jupiters Casino is akin to arranging a seminar on drug and alcohol addiction at an inner city pub. Consumers, survivors and victims of mental health services will feel themselves thoroughly excluded from this conference, particularly if they are living with a gambling problem.

The mental health industry is currently facing widespread criticism for its close relationship with pharmaceutical corporations. Indeed, the GCIMH boasts of its sponsorship by some of the world's most unethical purveyors of ineffective and dangerous psychiatric medications. But by joining hands with the gambling industry, the Institute has shown it has learned nothing from psychiatry's unsavoury past associations with some of history's most abusive and exploitative industries and regimes.

Justice Action calls on the Gold Coast Institute of Mental Health to immediately cancel its arrangements with Jupiters and rebook its conference at a more appropriate venue. We also call on the Institute to 'just say no' to drug company money, so as to avoid a conflict of interest.

Justice Action calls on all organisations who are sincerely concerned with the poor standard of mental health care in Australia to boycott the 6th International Mental Health Conference and to send a strong letter to the GCIMH explaining why they will not be attending.

Contact: Michael Strutt 9660-9111, Brett Collins 0438 705 003

By JusticeAction 14 March 05


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