This week is Homeless Person’s Week and for seven days coins will be collected, awareness raised and pledges made to reduce the number of Australians who don’t have a place to call home.

Sleeping rough. Photo: Nicholas Welsh.

Recent research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare puts that figure at more than 100,000, of which almost half are under the age of 25. On the 12th of August, Homeless Person’s Week and International Youth Day will collide, prompting consideration of some of the most vulnerable in our community: those who are both young and homeless.

Complex combinations of mental illness, low levels of education, family breakdown, financial struggles, and a severe lack of services leave homeless young people in a precarious situation.

Melbourne City Mission’s Frontyard Youth Service is one of the largest homelessness services providers in the state. Wayne Merrit is the program’s manager and says we’re missing an opportunity to potentially eradicate youth homelessness for good.

“We have much higher long-term success rates with young people because they haven’t been homeless for as long and it’s not so entrenched within them.

“Unfortunately this is a huge issue but it doesn’t get much attention because it isn’t sexy or glamorous,” he says.

Maree McCleary tends to agree. Maree is Team Leader at the Springboard Youth Refuge Program, which houses young people for a period of six to eight weeks. She says we need to challenge the stereotypes we hold about these young people.

“A lot of young people walk through the door of the refuge and just burst into tears, the boys and the girls. I think it’s because they know they’re finally safe. They can’t believe they can go to the fridge and help themselves to something to eat, they can’t believe there’s a shower with hot water.”

“For so long they’ve been on guard, not trusting anyone. We have to work with them to build that trust but once they can relax you find they’re still very soft on the inside.”

Almost 65% of people aged 15-24 presenting alone to homelessness services are young women. While men most often state financial difficulty as their primary reason for homelessness, for women it’s domestic violence.

This was *Josie’s experience.

“Late one night things just got so bad with mum that I was leaning against my bedroom door trying to stop her from hitting me. She screamed at me and said I had to move out. It was dark and I didn’t have a car or any money, I didn’t know what to do. I knew I’d be out on the street.”

The Federal Government’s 2008 White Paper The Road Home calls for early intervention and prevention measures to be a key component of policy and response by 2020. But those working in the sector say it could be a long way off.

Anglicare Victoria’s Breaking the Barriers program aims to help young people avoid homelessness by making successful transitions from state care to independent living. Deb Ireland is the program’s manager.

“We’re in such a big crisis that crisis control is all we can think about, it’s getting all the focus. There’s not enough funding for the services that already exist, let alone any early intervention or prevention work,” Deb says.

For those who are homeless and seek help, the road back to safe and stable housing isn’t easy. There is a severe lack of exit points for young people leaving homeless services and the National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness predicts the most common outcome for young people leaving such services is returning to homelessness.

Melbourne City Mission’s Wayne Merritt says integrated services are the best way forward.

“We need to look at models that have a variety of services in one place. There’s so much crossover with drug and alcohol use, family breakdown, financial issues and mental illness that it makes sense to address them all in a holistic way. We need to reduce the bureaucracy,” he says.

Mental illness is a particularly prominent precursor to, and consequence of, homelessness. Eastern Health reports 89 per cent of homeless youth have experienced significant mental health problems. Mission Australia reveals more than 40 per cent of homelessness young people have attempted suicide.

“There are a lot of people with mental illnesses that slip through the cracks in the housing system,” Maree McCleary says.

“They’re told outright that they need too much support for private rental but not enough for assisted accommodation.”

Any way you look at it, the issue of youth homelessness is a complex one to which blanket solutions do not apply. One thing, however, that is agreed upon within the sector is the pivotal role of education in empowering young people out of homelessness. 

“This year our team has seen around 50 clients and I can only think of one who completed year 12. Even to get a job at some fast food outlets you have to sit an entry test that includes year 10 maths, so for the majority of our kids who left school before year 8, even low paid jobs are unattainable,” Deb Ireland says.

Evidently there is far more to homelessness than a lack of shelter. Our young people are ending up unsafe because of a range of complex issues that can only be combated by more focus, more funding and an integration of long-term services. If, as Wayne Merritt suggests, we are to eradicate, or at the very least reduce, youth homelessness, more must be done by the government, the welfare sector and the general community.

Every year the United Nations International Youth Day is assigned a theme, a conceptual slogan that encapsulates the objectives for the coming 12 months. This year’s theme, “Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth” seems particularly poignant.

Yet whether the young people spending tonight under a bridge feel as though there is a place for them in this so-called “Better World,” remains to be seen.

Most commented

56 comments

Show oldest | newest first

    • nihonin says:

      06:40am | 07/08/12

      Unfortunately for our homeless, they’ll need to be able to afford a boat and a mobile, if they and most other Australians expect this government to assist them.

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      08:46am | 07/08/12

      Most Australians are not aware of a dangerous situation that is developing because of the failures of the ALP Govt enforced by the Greens and in particular Sarah Hanson-Young on boatpeople arrivals.

      There is now a rapidly growing class of people who will feel cheated on arrival in Australia after spending money and risking their lives on leaky boats.

      Because of the rapid increases in boat arrivals many are being thrown into our streets because the detention centers cannot house them, see http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/underclass-worry-in-migrants-daily-struggle-20120802-23ihl.html

      It will not be too long before one of these desperate and volatile people go amok.

    • Chopper knows says:

      09:11am | 07/08/12

      Dr BS, why do you bring up boatpeople in every single post? They only make up a very small amount of the problem in Australia compared with a lot more unrelated homeless, drugs, alcoholics and a million other social problems that this country suffers from? You really have it on the refugees don’t you? What did they ever do to you personally for you to have a dig at them in every single post you write in here? Did you have to line up behind 3 of them at the post office and waste 5 minutes of your precious life? Like my wife would say you are a very typical “small heart” person..

    • Little Joe says:

      09:40am | 07/08/12

      @ Chopper

      Because BS Goh realises that we only have so much money and a specific amount of resources ..... you know ..... REALITY!!!

      It looks like Australians can expect to spend a record amount of over $2,000M on illegal arrivals this year. I find it amazing how this incompetent Government can find money when it wants to!!!

      Based on this figure we could end homelessness within a decade. Similarly we could have ended homelessness with the $42B Labor wasted on stimulus spending.

    • Chopper knows says:

      02:39pm | 07/08/12

      @Little Joe and BS, I stand by my post, I would stop worrying about the 40 million of so displaced people or so you claim exist and maybe think simply, “what has a refugee or a dozen personally done to my life to warrant me writing these posts?” For me, Nothing, for you lot? everything?

    • Ian1 says:

      07:00am | 07/08/12

      If only they’d arrived here by boat.

    • Silo says:

      09:19am | 07/08/12

      Gillard is hiding from the asylum seeker problem. Her government has lost its way. She is in trouble. Big trouble.

    • James1 says:

      10:45am | 07/08/12

      Indeed.  Instead, they were born here, in a country where they can access free education, free health care, deferred payment university studies, almost unconditional welfare, socialised housing and subsidised medicine.  If only they had been born somewhere else and come here by boat, they would be so much better off…

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      12:01pm | 07/08/12

      If only they weren’t alcoholics, drug users or ex prostitutes…

    • Alex says:

      12:40pm | 07/08/12

      @simonfromlakemba
      I thought you were a christian?

    • simonfromLakemba says:

      04:49pm | 07/08/12

      Sure am.

      Doesn’t mean what I said isn’t the truth. Isn’t Abbott a Christian to?

    • Rose says:

      07:21pm | 07/08/12

      simonfromLakemba, Abbott is a Christian in name only, I’m absolutely convinced that if Jesus was here today Abbott would be one of the first turfed out of the Temple!

    • Fiddler says:

      07:00am | 07/08/12

      hang on…. did the punch just publish an article citing domestic violence where the offender was a female???

      Please tell me I’m not seeing things

    • Testfest says:

      02:44pm | 07/08/12

      They did!

      But they also mentioned that the primary victims of homelessness are 65% female, so balance has been restored to the universe…

    • Susan says:

      07:29am | 07/08/12

      Massive problem. Where is the funding? I see the Federal Government waste tons of money on political ads, increasing amount of out of control ‘asylum seekers’ etc. Why don’t we take care of Australians first and stop wasting taxpayer money on non-Australians. Gillard is the worst PM for a reason and we see that reason everyday with articles like this.

    • Chris L says:

      09:09am | 07/08/12

      Gillard has too many problems on her plate to care about this issue, right now it is about political survival. Why would someone who can’t care for anyone but herself care about the homeless?

    • Brad McT says:

      10:21am | 07/08/12

      Susan you’re not alone with this view. The country needs a leader that actually stands for something and does produce results. We need an election and chnage to get us back on track. The question is how much damage will Labor do between now and then.

    • Rose says:

      07:54pm | 07/08/12

      Why is this solely Gillard’s fault/responsibility? Homelessness is not a new problem, it’s as old as humanity itself and in all seriousness, it will probably always be be with us. The best we can hope to do is minimize it as much as possible and to ensure that there are ways available that do not further victimize and exclude those that find themselves in this predicament and to care for the homeless as best we can, ensuring they have access to health care and social services.
      Turning this into a personal attack against any one person is a cheap shot and absolutely unwarranted.

    • Mahhrat says:

      07:49am | 07/08/12

      Great article, and I particularly like the “holistic” approach idea, not to mention reducing the bureaucracy.  It’s something my manager is a big supporter of, working within a stakeholder sector. I know we have immense trouble providing safe and constructive paths for our clients. 

      One of the things that I often encounter is risk avoidance, particularly from senior government.  They are so risk averse now that those on the coal face feel unsupported.  That fear leads to their own risk aversion, where they would rather deny a complex client service than risk an incident.  Authority has become so devolved that even the little things require committee intervention, because no single person is allowed (or wants to) shoulder the burden.

      You need to give people the authority to do a job and then let them do it.  So much risk is managed that it hamstrings the decision making - it becomes so hard to innovate because so many people need to be part of the decision making process, as nobody is really sure where the authority lay.

      If you want the right people to be accountable to their roles, then you need to give them the tools, authority and support to actually do it.

    • Chris L says:

      10:06am | 07/08/12

      You raise good points Mahhrat, but I can understand why the risk aversion. Especially considering that even the most minor statement from anyone higher up will be held up for scrutiny and often taken out of context and/or beyond reasonable considerations. We have a very exitable and unforgiving populace, urged on by sensationalist tabloids, disingenuous shock jocks and melodramatic current affairs shows. No wonder they fear to try new ideas or even offer an honest opinion.

      I wouldn’t want to be a politicians for quids.

    • Mahhrat says:

      12:12pm | 07/08/12

      @Chris:  That’s kind of my point though - politics should go to nobody who actually wants to be a politician.

      The Liberals should be run by successful business people.  I’ve always thought Turnbull would be a good leader of the LNP for that reason. 

      I honestly feel like we don’t pay our pollies enough.  We should pay them millions but demand the earth, same as any large business.  Then we’d attract actual talent to the roles.

      All we have at the moment is the people who couldn’t quite make it as far as they think they deserve to.  It’s a job to them, not a calling - something to allow them power, not responsibility.

    • spanky says:

      09:11am | 07/08/12

      Priorities in Australia are so stuffed up.  Just have to look at the health system. These homeless don’t have a chance.  We are so worried about what other countries think of us, I say stuff them lets get our own backyard in order first.

    • sunny says:

      10:26am | 07/08/12

      Health system! Gillard lied TWICE about health care reform! See how it has been ignored and the only focus is on cigerettes and plain packaging etc instead of true reform! Too hard so Gillard and her lazy Ministers just put it on the back burner and hope the public forgets. They are doing the same with the asylum seeker problem. Australia for Australians 1st!

    • Alex says:

      10:41am | 07/08/12

      As a former crazy hobo I got back on my feet becuase I had a family member who helped me. Gave me somewhere to sleep, to recover, to heal.
      I am now working full time, looking after another family member, a payslip away from hobotown but things are looking up.
      The welfare net was useful, it was something that let me buy food and afford scripts. That net I used is why I never bitch about paying tax, we are all a sort series of misfortune from a warm bed to a cold doorstep.
      However the thing that saved me was my family, my friends. We need someone to connect with us. If it was not for my family I would not be sitting here thinking I hate my job and my the room I am renting is crappy as hell but dear lord I am gratefull for it.
      I was helped, I am now looking after others.
      Please if you have strength and health find a way to help someone, even just one person. It is also in your best interests to have the crazy motherfuckers like me medicated and paying tax.

    • Andrew says:

      11:40am | 07/08/12

      Best post ever! Thanks Alex for bringing some perspective and congratulations for having the courage to get back on your feet.

    • Richard the Lionheart says:

      11:10am | 07/08/12

      Why would anyone want to come here with little language or career skills? You need $500,000 to buy a house and another $2Million to retire comfortably @  4% which is likely rate at the end of the year. Live on the pension or dole?... is that a life well spent? New arrivals have a culture where the children are expected to care for them in old age, so let’s have lots of Kids at someone else’s expense. My solution to city homelessness is to send them to small country towns where various providers can purchase very cheap run down housing. The homeless can be put to work on their shared abode and may eventually do something worthwhile in their new small rural community.

    • jade (the other one) says:

      11:51am | 07/08/12

      Why inflict drug addicted, mentally ill criminals on small rural communities? Homelessness for those born in this country is overwhelmingly a choice that they have made.

      Small rural communities often don’t have 24 hour policing, or the support or infrastructure to keep the community safe from these types of people.

    • Alex says:

      12:53pm | 07/08/12

      @Jade.
      Thankyou for assuming all homeless people are drug addicted mentally ill criminals. I will assume you are a ignorant douche.

    • Fiddler says:

      01:05pm | 07/08/12

      Alex, don’t be so butthurt. She didn’t say all are, but you would have to be a fool to suggest that it is not extremely prevalent

    • jade (the other one) says:

      01:12pm | 07/08/12

      @Alex - if they take drugs - they are breaking the law. That makes them criminals. In addition, most homeless youth that I have worked with admitted to returning to their homes, breaking in and stealing from their parents.

      Is this not criminal behaviour?

    • M says:

      01:55pm | 07/08/12

      It doesn’t help that criminalising drug use makes criminals out of otherwsie law abiding citizens.

    • Alex says:

      01:57pm | 07/08/12

      @Jade.
      I just do not like when I feel people are written off, I admit I was smart enough to keep away from drugs.
      I personally thnk we should have a two year stint of complusory national service with no excemptions for school leavers. No matter you skill level or there is something you can do for the county.
      @Fiddler.
      I am quick to anger and quick to trust, two traits which caused me alot of problems I admit. The phrase butthurt made me laugh.

    • jade (the other one) says:

      11:39am | 07/08/12

      Brianna, while your sentiments are admirable, for the most part, these young people are on the streets purely by choice. They chose to take drugs, abuse alcohol, and leave school.

      In this country, with the ridiculous welfare subsidies and educational opportunities available to people, there is really no reason for these people to be homeless. Most are homeless because they did not value education, instead preferring to wag school and get high. Then, when parents could no longer cope with being abused, stolen from, assaulted, and mistreated, and finally kicked them out, they blather about how tough they’ve got it.

    • godsky says:

      12:15pm | 07/08/12

      DO you have proof of this?
      Or you talking out of your rear end?
      Have you actually sat and spoke to a homless person?
      Enjoy the comfort of your home sweetheart, because your ignorance shines like a football stadium sized neon light

    • James1 says:

      12:26pm | 07/08/12

      Indeed.  Naturally, if you are a passionate young arts graduate, and you go onto the streets and talk to these young people about how they ended up there, it won’t be their own fault.  Of course society marginalised them by not employing them simply because they were stoned at the interview.  Of course they get stoned for reasons beyond their control.  Of course society discriminates against them because they have tattoos on their neck and/or face.  Of course it is nothing to do with their own actions, and everything to do with “the man” screwing them at every turn.

      In my experience, when you actually live around the bottom end of society, you find that most of the dysfunction is self inflicted.

      Protip: drug addicts and alcoholics lie, a lot.  It is part of what they do on a daily basis, so it means nothing to them if they spin a sob story that is 90% bullshit.  Sure, there are exceptions.  But the sad reality is this: you cannot help someone who is constantly externalising their failures and is unwilling to take responsibility.

    • jade (the other one) says:

      01:04pm | 07/08/12

      @godsky - you can believe I’m talking out my rear end. Fact is, the majority of people in this country who are homeless are on drugs. Not because they were forced to be, but because they made a considered choice to do drugs. A choice that they made well before their life went down the toilet.

      I’ve spoken to many homeless people, and to many youth who have actually been abused or neglected. I used to volunteer with several youth groups in Brisbane City, many of whom worked directly with homeless youth. There are genuine cases of homelessness, and real problem demographics - foster kids aging out of the system with limited support to find housing etc is one major one. But in the scope of the problem, they are a tiny element.

      I used to, when I was a bright-eyed teenager living a middle class lifestyle in a poorer area, be of the same attitude - that it’s all someone else’s fault. I’ve come to stop feeling guilty for my life, and the privilege that I was born with, and started to see that not having privilege does not negate your responsibility for your life. Furthermore, many of the kids who I met who were homeless were homeless because they were kicked out of home after stealing from parents and siblings, trashing their homes, or multiple police visits to their parents’ house due to their unsavory activities.

      Rather than feeling ashamed and guilty for the massive problems they wreaked on their families, they spoke with a self-righteous indignation about how their parents were so terrible for finally getting fed up, and constant whining about how “it was all the addiction, and they deserved forgiveness”.

    • M says:

      01:08pm | 07/08/12

      Both sides are right and wrong on this.

      Yes, people make choices, but as the author points out, often they are falling through the cracks in the system. Did you see how many have mental health issues? A little compassion in this regard is needed considering the woeful state of our mental health system.

    • Alex says:

      01:09pm | 07/08/12

      @ Jade and James1,
      You are both making excuses for your choice to not have empathy for your fellow citizens, though maybe it is not your fault you find it hard too empathise. You may be functional borederline sociopaths that have difficulty empathising. You are probally the type of people who born under different circumstances would be criminals, I mean the ability to make excuses and not empathise with people in different circumstances, well you get my idea.
      As a homeless person who got himself up I did it with support and natural intelligence. I do however feel sorry for those who never made it.
      Also regarding your point about drugs people with mental health issues often self medicate.
      Hell I am on drugs right now, the only difference is that mine are prescribed by a doctor and allow me to hold down a job.
      You both need help.
      We all need to take responsibility for our choices, but the sick still need assistance to heal and the help really is not being distributed correctly.

    • James1 says:

      01:41pm | 07/08/12

      I have empathy for people like you, Alex.  You clearly made some excellent choices at some point, and as a result you have a life that is much better.  That is admirable.

      My issue is with the ingrates who collect welfare, don’t work, take drugs, end up homeless and then blame society for their dysfunction.  You know, the majority of Australia’s lumpenproletariat. 

      Also, we can do without the insults, thanks.  If you disagree with my views, say so.  There seems little reason for you to insult me personally.

    • jade (the other one) says:

      02:02pm | 07/08/12

      @Alex - I have plenty of empathy. What I don’t have is patience for those who blame everyone else for their decision to take drugs, encourage their siblings to do so, trash homes, break and enter, bash people, steal from their parents and grandparents, and feel no shame, empathy, or guilt over the pain and suffering they have caused.

      Yes these people are in a terrible situation. But more often than not, they are there through choices they made, and a refusal to be responsible for their actions.

      Most of the time, their mental health issues are caused by their addictions. Their addictions are not caused by their mental health issues.

      I’m quite capable of empathising with people in different circumstances. I can even feel sorry for the homeless. But that does not preclude me from being able to state that for the most part, it’s their own choices that landed them there, and suggesting otherwise is simply enabling their continuing spiral towards helplessness.

    • Alex says:

      02:13pm | 07/08/12

      @James1
      Yeah, sorry about the insults.
      Personally I think we should be paying people not to breed becuase in some cases it is the only way to stop the poverty cycle.

    • M says:

      02:24pm | 07/08/12

      Wrong jade, so wrong. People with mental health issues tend to self medicate in an effort to control their crazy. The classic example is schizophrenics gravitating towards Cannabis, rather than the conventional narrative from the government that cannabis causes schizophrenia.

    • jade (the other one) says:

      02:52pm | 07/08/12

      @M - I find it difficult to believe that every drug addicted homeless person is there as a result of mental health issues leading to addiction.

      I find it much more likely that addiction to significantly mind-altering substances is for the most part, responsible for mental health issues, with a minority for whom self-medication is the reason behind their poor decisions.

      The majority of people who become addicted do not do so out of any reason other than a choice to take drugs, and an inability to stop when it becomes a problem.

    • M says:

      03:39pm | 07/08/12

      <@M - I find it difficult to believe that every drug addicted homeless person is there as a result of mental health issues leading to addiction.>

      As do I, but it’s unfair to tar them all with your brush. Some of them are using drugs as an escape or as a way to control their symptoms. It’s not as black and white as you make out.

      <I find it much more likely that addiction to significantly mind-altering substances is for the most part, responsible for mental health issues, with a minority for whom self-medication is the reason behind their poor decisions.>

      Agreed, but you know that alcohol is the primary addiction right?

      <The majority of people who become addicted do not do so out of any reason other than a choice to take drugs, and an inability to stop when it becomes a problem. >

      Erm, I don’t think you truly understand addiction. I’d say there’s personality types and emotional stresses which lead to addiciton, rather than the fact that they just decided to take a certain drug. I’ve been a casual user of cannabis and alcohol for years, yet the only drugs I was addicted to were nicotine and caffeine.

      I can see where you’re coming from Jade, but with respect, I think you need to do a bit more research.

    • godsky says:

      12:54pm | 07/08/12

      @James1.
      Nice short sighted view there.
      Tell me, why should i believe what your saying since all alchos and druggies BS?
      I know there are people who failed due to their own stupidity, but there are a lot who due to mental health issues/family problems who are destitute, but you know, keep up your view that homeless = failure at life.

    • jade (the other one) says:

      01:10pm | 07/08/12

      How many of those mental illness issues are caused by addiction to drugs/alcohol? How do you prove that family problems are legitimately the cause?

      In my experience, most abused children, especially where siblings exist, tend to stay in the family unit to either protect their siblings, or due to the abuser’s manipulation of the abused child into dependence on the abuser. Of course there are legitimate homeless youth who left because of abuse, but the overwhelming majority I have worked with left because they were kicked out by terrified parents after drug addiction took hold.

    • James1 says:

      01:17pm | 07/08/12

      “Tell me, why should i believe what your saying since all alchos and druggies BS?”

      Are you saying I’m a drug addict? 

      I get this a lot from people like you, as it happens.  I have lived around these sorts of people, as opposed to sitting next to a few and speaking to them.  I grew up with poor immigrant parents in a bad neighbourhood rife with homelessness and welfare dependency, which I didn’t manage to leave until the age of 22, so I have had a lot of contact with these sorts of people.  I formed my views on the lower strata of society whilst living among them.  Sure, there are the odd few suffering mental illness that slip through the cracks of the health system and their family networks, but in my direct experience most people who find themselves in these situations do so because of a fundamental inability to function as human beings.  Of course, they all have terribly sad stories of poverty and suchlike, but so do I and yet here I am.

    • Alex says:

      01:41pm | 07/08/12

      @James1
      I can say like you grew up with poor imigrant parent, I worked with the homeless, when left home had to put myself through uni blah blah blah.
      Life was hard, made the choice to get up and be middle class, hurrah for me.
      However I managed to do it all with some help, all I am saying is tha people need help to make the right choices.
      I maanaged to raise myself up and not lose my ability to empathise at the same time.
      If it was not for my support network who knows what would of happended to me.

    • James1 says:

      04:03pm | 07/08/12

      As you would know, Alex, having also been around these people, empathy is often wasted on the unworthy.

    • Rose says:

      07:18pm | 07/08/12

      Sorry James1, everybody deserves empathy. People do really bad stuff or make really bad choices but there’s always a reason why people end up where they do. Empathy doesn’t absolve people from needing to take responsibility for themselves or their actions, it merely means that you understand that events in their lives have led them to where they are. You can still empathize with someone while holding them accountable.

    • Janey says:

      02:49pm | 07/08/12

      Please ban some of your daily, multiple posting morons sitting on their holier than thou thrones living such exemplary lives…..in front of a computer screen.
      Jade you are one of the biggest offenders here: where is your evidence for your ridiculous statement that mental illness is caused by drug abuse, and that it is not the other way around?  Your education must be limited to a certificate 3 in drugs and alcohol to spout such know -all crap. 
      Try talking to a professional like a psychiatrist and they will tell you a different story to your version of “truth”.

    • jade (the other one) says:

      08:49am | 08/08/12

      @Janey - are you seriously going to deny that drug addiction, and long-term use does not lead to mental illness? Really?

      I don’t doubt that some sufferers of mental illness choose to self-medicate using drugs, as I stated. But I seriously doubt that this is the majority of drug addicts.

      People choose to take drugs. Noone forces them to. Then, when they become addicted, it’s yet another example of the welfare class in this country refusing to take responsibility for their own sorry choices. Refusing to feel ashamed or even sorry for all the significant problems they cause their family, friends and society. Expecting them to simply “accept” that it was all the addiction and not their horrible choices. Whining about how their family finds it difficult to forgive the police rocking up on their doorstep to search their house.

    • Swamp Thing says:

      04:34pm | 07/08/12

      Spot on Janey
      If you can see through their offensiveness though they are bloody funny! James1 & jade should really get together, do a ‘clark & dawes’ type thing -awesomeness!    imagine how their kids would turn out, children of the corn anyone?

    • wantok says:

      04:55pm | 07/08/12

      There was a program on the local - Cairns & Far North - ABC about the large increase in young homeless people who migrate to Far North Queensland this time of the year. Evidently they are receiving benefits but apparently choose not to spend this money on accommodation, preferring to ‘camp’ out.
      I don’t know how true this is but it does seem that a proportion of these ‘homeless’ people are choosing their lifestyle.

    • Pioneer Stock says:

      11:10am | 08/08/12

      What about families living on the street or in a car because of job loss and unable to pay their mortgage or rent, compassion and empathy and a helping hand is needed urgently, always remember Charity begins at home, God Bless all these poor souls, Please Gillard look after our own first, and bugger what the rest of the world and the UN think.

 

Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more

28 comments

Newsletter

Read all about it

Sign up to the free News.com.au newsletter