Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Call it what you like

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  • Julie Fairey,

    That's very sad about Finn :-(

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    It's very sad news about Finn Higgins, I'm so sorry for his parner and family this must be terrible times for them, wish there was something I could do.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    The news about Finn is truly sad, and I extend condolences to his loved ones.

    It is usual to feel helpless and angry when we hear about such events, and frustrated that there is nothing we can do to help.

    But there IS something that well people can do to help the sick, and do very effectively. They can volunteer for a medical support or lobby group.

    I have been lobbying on behalf of a particular cancer charity for some years, and know how hard it is for those who are already carrying the burden of illness to add political or nurturing activity to their list of daily mountains to climb.

    It's bloody hard to lobby for the action needed in your area when your membership, who have the most intimate knowledge of the issues, are not well enough to carry the stress of being an activist. I have watched committee members buckle under the strain, or worse, suffer a relapse. Sick people have a tendency to die off at a greater rate than you might expect to find on "normal" committees, too, which means the group may have difficulty completing tasks. People become difficult to replace on your working groups. It all seems too hard.

    When the Health Ministry is involved, I have seen their staff insist on meetings being held on their own premises, regardless of how many physical difficulties the lobby/support group faces in accessing them. Meeting with MPs can be similarly challenging. Some flexibility on their part would help.

    So what I am saying is: don't leave the sick to support each other. At a time when it seems our health system is more cracks than substance, those who have been afflicted by illness, whether physical or mental, need all the voluntary support from healthy people that we can muster. Thank you.

    Since Jul 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This is the letter the Herald journalists' chapel sent to APN CEO Martin Simons last week:

    Dear Mr Simons,

    I am writing to express the concern of the Herald Journalists Chapel over the "clarification" published in yesterday's Bay Report newspaper.

    We understand that the item, regarding comments attributed to John Key in the December 20, 2007 edition of the paper, was inserted on your instructions.

    It is not necessary here to traverse the facts of the original news article or the need or otherwise for the clarification.

    Our concern arises from your management interference in an editorial decision of a newspaper. Our concern is heightened by the fact that your action was on behalf of a political party. We clearly have no objection to your conversing or corresponding with politicians. Our concern is that you have acted as the conduit for an approach which ought properly to have been made to the reporter and/or editor/s concerned. It might have seemed a small matter since the paper concerned is a local one. However, the potential effect is to portray all New Zealand newspapers owned by APN as subservient to political interference. The risk is that readers will perceive the Herald, which has previously carefully guarded its political independence, as open to National Party influence.

    We would appreciate hearing your view on this matter and ask that in future you respect the tradition of editorial independence.

    We are circulating this letter to other journalists at the Herald and within the union because of the widespread concern among journalists about the matter.

    Simons has not yet responded. The word is that Simons personally worked out a clarification with Key and told the Advocate/Bay Report editor-in-chief Laura Franklin to publish it.

    This really stinks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Rest in peace, Finn. You will be sadly missed, and your intellect more so.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5312 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    According to an email I just received from a workmate this is Schizophrenia Awareness Week. So if people feel like doing something maybe there's something there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    the Herald journalists' chapel

    With weekly services?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3185 posts Report Reply

  • insider outsider,


    That's the traditional term for a union grouping at a newspaper.

    Though I thought the traditional chapel for the NZ HErald staff was actually the SHakespeare...

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls,

    Tui of the week:

    __the Herald, which has previously carefully guarded its political independence__

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    Good on the Herald journos! It does stink.

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    So much emphasis is placed on the consumer having to agree that they need help before it could be provided, and I saw so many occasions where family, partners, neighbours or workmates would be concerned about someone's obvious deteriorating health and unusual behaviour, but unitl that person recognised it themselves, the clinicians would not act.

    Actually, no, the client's ability to articulate there mental illness doesn't always equal appropriate action.

    The health board is also investigating the death of Janine Fraser, 25, in December after she begged doctors to let her to stay in the psychiatric community respite house. She was sent home.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3845 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Terrible news about Finn. not a happy end to that story which untill his body was found I think we all hoped for

    No easy fixs to this sort of thing when there has to be balance between personal freedom and caring for those who are in no position to express their personal freedom

    TomS says
    "It seems to me that our health sector struggles but just about keeps up - and often on a lot less $$ than you would expect given the excellence of the care "

    But we the tax payers seem to have poured huge amounts of money into the system to very little advantage
    Seems a change of direction is required as well as more money or maybe instead of more money

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • Sophie Wilson,

    Hey Russel, thank you so much for a fitting eulogy. I wish Finn were around to guest blog, he would have sunk his teeth into that one like the intellectually voracious person he was. It is a slight sin to be calling What If's, but still I think if the DHB and CATT were more prepared/resourced, Finn might be able to say "I made it" and then get on with the fabulous life he'd always wanted.

    On the other hand, the CATT members dealing with Finn seemed to have had a hard time. I would describe them as sullen husks. I think Craig Ranapia has a point about the staffing issues for this part of the industry. Perhaps staff working in mental health units should have some secret garden with wildflowers, fountains, perhaps some video games, and an in house chakra healer. I'd be more than happy to give mental health workers a pay rise and wicked staff perks/working environment with my tax dollar(s) - if it meant they were mentally replenished enough to give a shit about their work again.

    Needless to say there are some probs which go further up the management chain but I think my waffle should end here.

    As Finn's partner I would like to express my thanks to those who have given their condolences, it has been warm and wonderful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    My eyes are filling with tears for a person I never knew, but whose on-line writing and conversation gave me so much delight. Finn was a pleasure to engage with.

    The story about you hugging Finn to try to save him breaks my heart, Sophie. I hope you can carry on to the fanulous life that I'm sure Finn would have wanted for you too.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1444 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Needless to say there are some probs which go further up the management chain but I think my waffle should end here.

    I sheer the Anger. Anger being natures way of saying something's happening that shouldn't be happening.

    Thank you for posting, Sophie. It's been a terrible tragedy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3845 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Oh Sofie, after what you've been through that's a gracious and humane take on things. I wish you well and hope the sun will shine again.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3119 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Sophie, all the positive energy in the universe to you, my love. So hard, so hard.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • anjum rahman,

    a bit late, but i would also like to give my condolences to finn's whanau and partner. i really enjoyed his posts here, and find it strange that i can miss someone i never met. it's a sad loss.

    hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    My condolences to Finn's partner and family too. What can I say but repeat what others have said? I suppose that the repetition si an affirmation of community...

    Young, creative... damn. His posts were always so lucid and warm. I never met him either, but I'm still shocked by the sudden emptiness, the absence.

    A wonderful eulogy too, Russell.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    My condolences to Finn's partner and family too. What can I say but repeat what others have said? I suppose that the repetition si an affirmation of community...

    I've been thinking about this: in this case, the medium and the community are the same thing. I think it gives a much better account of the sad news than the stunted syntax of a mainstream media story. It's a better, more fulfilling marker.

    If kids do this on MySpace or Bebo, the news media starts shrieking about internet suicide cults. But we're grown up, so it's alright.

    And Sophie: I think your grace humbles us all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Feck (No I'm not being glib just nothing else useful to say).

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 785 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    If kids do this on MySpace or Bebo, the news media starts shrieking about internet suicide cults. But we're grown up, so it's alright.

    I was wondering how I'd feel if the media picked up on PA/S and our comments started appearing in newspapers. I kinda finished up feeling that I'd feel like a private space got invaded, which is illogical given that this is the internet and not a private space, but still.

    Made me think about how 'those kids' must feel - no one pays attention to them until someone dies, and then all of a sudden a spotlight is put on their previously ignored space. Not hard to link suicide to 'getting attention' in that light.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6241 posts Report Reply

  • samuel walker,

    I am not sure I would be so balanced or eloquent in the same circumstances Sophie. More power to you.

    if it meant they were mentally replenished enough to give a shit about their work again.

    The argument about how many resources we can chuck at a debatably small section of society is one that may never be truly resolved. However it pisses me off massively that someone could decide to do it, as a job, with that responsibility, and not follow through that little bit extra. Im not saying it’s not a terrifically hard or draining task, but goddamit, the system needs to work out how to juggle those drains, and individuals within the current system who realise they are starting to “not give a shit” need to start yelling for help.

    Since Nov 2006 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Llewellyn,

    Firstly, my condolences to Sophie and the rest of Finns family. Sad sad sad.

    Without knowing anything about this specific situation, other than what has been disclosed here and in the paper, while I can easily summon plenty of anger at any systemic failures in our health system that lead to unnecessary death, I am loath to condemn those individuals who are actually out there on the front line doing a bloody tough job.

    For every burn-out who has seen too much and has just had enough, there are many more good people doing their damndest for all the right reasons under stressful conditions (not always with the right tools at their disposal). The current situation with the staff shortage of cancer and oncology services provided for the Wellington region is a good example where good people are being stretched too thinly.

    As has been suggested by others, maybe the support services for those individuals need to be reinforced and strengthened. But that requires yet another resource in a situation where resources are already taxed. Health is a no-win game - as our population ages the task of providing adequate public healthcare for all becomes less and less possible. I don't know the answers, I just know its a hellava difficult thing for any society to manage.

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    A tragic loss.

    "If kids do this on MySpace or Bebo, the news media starts shrieking about internet suicide cults. But we're grown up, so it's alright."

    Yeah this struck me for an hour or two yesterday.

    How unfair Finns passing is and made more so if grief or condolenses aren't able to be shared.

    I looked back to a few of my own darker moments & I can see where this commentary could be a problem.

    I also cringe at the "New Cops" story about suicide & how the cop saved the day - just that easy isn't it. And sneer at the bloody cadbury chocolate easter eggs add campaign at the moment as well. I know this is being a little over sensitive.

    My thoughts are with Finns family & friends.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

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