Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 13 September 2014
8 SATURDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2014 AUSTRALIA One in seven Australians will experience depression, and Greek-born individuals (with an average age of 68) are more than four times as likely to fall into the moder- ate to severe depression cat- egories than their Anglo Aus- tralian counterparts, Vicky Manikas, a Greek Australian psychologist, tells Neos Ko- smos. Yet Vicky explains that dis- cussions about the issues, onset and details of mental health disorders are still a very taboo topic in the Greek culture. Vicky opened her own pri- vate practice, Bespoke Psy- chology, in August and has extensive clinical experience, having garnered her skills through her time at various institutions, including the Murdoch Children's Research Institute at The Royal Chil- dren's Hospital in Melbourne, as well as undertaking a PhD in the industry. She explained that under- standing the connection be- tween a sense of cultural pride and mental disorders is a complex web, which would require an entire PhD case study to decipher. But she did say that because Greeks hold family and community very closely, these tend to be a hindering or preventative roadblock in tackling the is- sue. After visiting Cyprus with her husband Paul in 2011, they were both keen on find- ing work and moving their lives to the Mediterranean island. The sticking point was Vicky finding work. De- spite seeking the help of a re- cruitment agency, her efforts proved fruitless due to a lack of demand. "They don't really talk about it much. The recruitment agent (in Limassol) said 'oh there's just no work here for psychologists, it's just impos- sible'. So they're kind of still a bit taboo about it." Vicky opines that a cultur- al sense of pride prevents Greeks from seeking help. "[I think] especially in the older generation, it is just something that they don't want to talk about, they don't want to acknowledge that there could be something wrong." And she finds that it is something that plagues the sexes. Any 'weakness', espe- cially amongst men, could be emasculating and bring shame to the family name, even if it comes to their chil- dren's wellbeing. "Older Greek women are more likely to acknowledge it and send their children to get help or say that 'you should go get help', encourage it. Whereas the older males will be like 'toughen up, grow up, stop it, get up, go to work, go to school, just deal with it and move on'." A pragmatic approach to growing awareness, Vicky explains, is a matter of edu- cation, and pushing the mes- sage that it is OK to seek help. "Everyone feels down, every- one feels levels of stress, anx- iety, depression, it's just how you cope with it, what label you put on it, so acknowledg- ing that yes it can be normal, and for some people it might require medication, it might just require counselling, but it does require some level of assistance. It's not just some- thing they can push through." And the 'new Greeks' arriv- ing (or coming back) to Aus- tralia, following the Greek and Cypriot financial melt- downs, has seen a spike in depression, stress and anger amongst Greek Australians. Help is available. For any linguistically tied Greek Aus- tralian suffering from a men- tal condition there are Greek speaking psychologists avail- able, including Vicky, by ac- cessing the Australian Psy- chological Society website. As she explains, Greek Aus- tralians have already sought out her help. "An older woman I'm think- ing of was in her early 70s. I had to approach her from a level where I understood where she was coming from. There are certain things that I know because I'm from the same background. Under- standing a lot of the cultural relevance, in the things she was saying, was probably the biggest difference ... which might not necessarily be a problem for an (Anglo) Aus- tralian person." To find a psychologist who speaks Greek visit: http://www. psychology.org.au/FindaPsy- chologist/ Shhh, don't mention mental disorders... Greek Australian psychologist Vicky Manikas. PHOTO SUPPLIED. Psychologist Vicky Manikas says a lack of mental disorder awareness amongst the Greek diaspora is alarming JOHN PYRROS Police are appealing to the Greek community to help them find George Karakis, on the run since 1975. The now 67-year-old is wanted for his alleged in- volvement in a serious sex- ual assault in 1975. He was last seen in Sydney in 1990, but police are unsure where he currently resides. Born on February 9 1947, he has brown eyes, black hair, an olive complexion and is of solid build. Karakis is one of 20 fugi- tives police have named in operation ROAM, a national manhunt seeking information from the public to help them arrest criminals wanted for offences including murder, drug trafficking, robberies and sexual assault. After one day of the opera- tion, two of the twenty fugi- tives have been found and ar- rested. Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright says the commu- nity plays an integral role in giving crucial clues to the whereabouts of these want- ed people. "There is a wealth of un- tapped community informa- tion out there; we need the eyes and ears of the commu- nity to help make Australia a safer place," Commissioner Cartwright says. Last year the same operation led to three arrests in the first 48 hours. Crime Stoppers CEO Sam Hunter says these fugitives cross state borders and as- sume normal lives. "They may be your mechan- ic, your neighbour, or catch the same train as you do each day," he says. "They have not just disap- peared, the community holds to key to finding out where they are living." Crime Stoppers is a vital cog in helping police piece together the movements of criminals around the country. In Victoria alone, Crime Stoppers receives 60,000 community contacts each year. Last year the service helped arrest more than 1,200 offenders. All calls are confidential. If you know the whereabouts of George Karakis, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers. com.au Community key in finding fugitive George Karakis, wanted since 1975. Police are appealing for community support to help find George Karakis, wanted since 1975 over a sexual assault AHEPA Youth have broken their own fundraising re- cords, amassing more than $4,000 for Father Themis' West African mission and the charity, Paradise 4 Kids. "The generosity of all pre- sent must be commended," AHEPA youth president John Papaemmanouil said after the event. "We all had a wonder- ful time and the presence of those present made the event a success." The sell out event saw 140 people gather to help the worthy cause. Father Themis couldn't attend the Father's Day event because of the growing Ebola outbreak, but appeared via video link. Father Themis' sister, Mary Adamopoulos, took her broth- er's place after just returning from Sierra Leone herself. She spoke to the guests to give a first hand account of the desperate need of funds to supply quarantine services in Sierra Leone. The mission is also in desperate need of funds to provide prosthetics, developed by 3D printing technology, for amputees af- fected during the civil war of the 1990s, and to train teach- ers to improve the education- al system, both priorities for humanitarian relief. All the funds raised will go to assist the charity in its re- lief projects including getting supplies to the medical clinic, canteen and educational fa- cilities the charity looks after. To donate, visit paradis- e4kids.org/how-to-donate/ how-to-donate-australia/ AHEPA youth raise $4,000 for Father Themis The money raised by AHEPA youth will go to relief projects in Sierra Leone. SA Multicultural Awards open The 2014 South Australian Governor's Multicultural Awards, designed to rec- ognise and celebrate the states' organisations and individuals who promote multiculturalism and in- crease understanding of the benefits of cultural di- versity, are now open. This year's categories in- clude the new Senior Vol- unteer Award, for individu- als who have devoted 20 or more years to the multicul- tural community. Award categories are: Arts and Culture (individual and organisation), Community Sector (individual and or- ganisation), Media, Private Sector, Public Sector, Vol- unteer, Senior Volunteer, Youth (individual and or- ganisation) and Outstand- ing Individual Achievement. Nominations for the awards are open until Fri- day 7 November 2014, with winners to be announced at an official award pres- entation at Government House in March 2015. To nominate online, you need to create a log-in so you can save and edit your nomination form. For more information visit Multicultural SA at www. multicultural.sa.gov.au The Governor's Multicul- tural Awards are adminis- tered by Multicultural SA and awarded by the Gover- nor of South Australia, on the advice of an independ- ent judging panel chosen in consultation with the Multicultural Communi- ties Council of SA.
20 September 2014