Mental health boost
RESEARCH led by the Black Dog Institute has revealed that even a small amount of physical activity – as little as one hour each week – can protect against depression, regardless of age, gender or current fitness level.
Depression is a serious public health issue with around one million Australians currently diagnosed.
We also know that up to 20 per cent of the Australian population doesn’t undertake any regular physical activity, which may significantly increase their risk of developing depression in their lifetime.
The Black Dog Institute’s Exercise Your Mood campaign, which runs from April 30 to May 6, aims to change these statistics by encouraging everyday Australians to improve their mental fitness by taking on at least one hour of exercise each week.
Though it can be hard to take the first step, one hour is a very achievable goal.
It’s something we would like to encourage your readers to build into their weekly routine.
If they are already on track, keep up the good work,
Your mental health will thank you for it.
Professor Helen Christensen, director, The Black Dog Institute
Legal move makes sense
I CONGRATULATE the Greens on adopting the Liberal Democrats’ long-held position on legalising recreational marijuana.
More than one-in-three Australians has used cannabis, yet almost 80,000 cannabis-related arrests are made nationally each year.
This is an appalling waste of Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force resources to the tune of almost $100 million a year, according to Parliamentary Budget Office costings commissioned by the Liberal Democrats in 2016.
That’s money better off in taxpayers’ pocket, or used to treat Australians with chronic alcohol and tobacco-related illnesses – which are far more widespread than any marijuana-related health issues.
A study released by the government’s Australian Institute of Health and Welfare last month found that illicit drugs were responsible for just over two per cent of Australia’s total disease burden, of which cannabis accounted for less than one in 10 cases within that category.
By comparison, tobacco accounted for nine per cent of Australia’s combined fatal and non-fatal disease burden and alcohol 4.6 per cent.
Along with the law enforcement cost savings, revenue raised from GST levied on legal cannabis would boost government coffers by about $300 million annually.
However, the Greens proposal of an added excise on marijuana – similar to that placed on alcohol and tobacco – is discriminatory and unnecessary.
The market-driven model is working effectively in nine US states including California, and in Spain. Canada will introduce similar legislation shortly.
In Portugal all drugs were decriminalised in 2001.
Since then that country has seen a dramatic drop in overdoses, HIV infection and drug-related crime.
David Leyonhjelm, leader, Liberal Democrats