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The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism 2003-2004

Noel O'Hare

Freelance Journalist
Wellington, New Zealand

Topic: Publish stories that consider issues affecting the mental health of migrants in New Zealand

Published Work:

Sticky Labels
What's in a name? A lot if it's a label bestowed on you by a psychologist or psychiatrist. If you're diagnosed with a mental disorder, it could have a lasting effect on your career, your personal relationships and your credibility as a citizen. Unlike a physical ailment, which everyone accepts can be cured or controlled, a mental disorder is often seen as a permanent weakness, which may reassert itself again under stress.

The Unfriendly Isles
In August 2002, Louisa Lee tried to kill herself for the eighth time. Since Lee migrated here with her husband and daughter from Hong Kong in the early 1990s, her life has been a well of unhappiness.

Happiness Is ...
Instead of catching my usual bus to Misery Place, I'm sometimes tempted to hop on the one to Happy Valley. Though in reality, Happy Valley is not a particularly desirable Wellington suburb, with convoys of rubbish trucks trundling through it on the way to the tip, the name conjures up a magical place of great contentment.

Put Yourself in My Shoes
The term "cultural safety" has become such a byword for political correctness that it is often dismissed out of hand. Yet, health professionals who lack cultural competence, to use a broader and less emotive term, are failing some of their most vulnerable patients and not living up to the high standards of their profession.

Sticks and Stones
Some folk wisdom is incredibly stupid. Take the expression "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me".

Keeping Body & Soul Together
How much difference do our health choices really make? Author of Think Before You Swallow, NOEL O'HARE argues that staying healthy isn't rocket science ... it's a bit more complicated than that.

Just You Wait
If you're a procrastinator, you might want to leave this column till later. You wouldn't be the only one. When researchers asked people about procrastination in 1972, 15% said they procrastinated from time to time and 1% admitted to being chronic procrastinators. By 2002, those percentages had increased to 60% and 6% respectively.

Are You out of Your Mind?
I've long suspected that I may be more than a few cents short of the full dollar, a suspicion that I fancy my family share. I never seem to be on quite the same wavelength as everybody else, and I take great delight in the obscure and the quirky.

Brain Gain
Imagine turning on your TV and being greeted with this: "Welcome to another edition of Mind Make-over! This week we meet Marjorie, a 37-year-old office worker from Papakura. Since she split with her longtime partner six months ago, Mar-jorie has suffered from mild to moderate depression. At work, she lacks confidence in group situations and her failure to be assertive often sees her given more work than she can cope with.

You're as Well as You Feel
One of the world's oldest medical treatments is making a comeback. The placebo, long derided as mere self-deception, has been shown to be not just a psychological effect but a genuine chemical mechanism.

Messing with Our Minds
Everywhere you turn, it seems, self-help gurus offer the chance to heal the pain of your past and realize your true potential. But are they peddling spiritual snake oil?

Truth Decay
Lying is not something that we grow out of. In a competitive world, it's often the easiest way to get ahead.

Sickness Selling
We've never been more health-conscious, yet drug companies are finding new illnesses" to ensure a growing market for their products, say two health researchers.

I Remember Now
Recent research suggests that our memories are much more fallible than we thought.

The Race to Beat Stress
Just when modern living seems geared to doing everything at an increasingly frenetic rate, exacting a serious toll on our physical and mental health, more people are looking to find ways to challenge the cult of speed.

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