Tag: australia

What to Look for When It Comes to Men’s Health

Pioneer Medical Centre

Dear Dr Qureshi, What are some common men’s health issues that I should look out for?

With Father’s Day here we should all take a moment for the men in our lives whether they are our fathers, brothers, sons or friends. Men’s health is a serious issue, yet many men don’t see their doctor regularly. So, here are some pointers on what to look out for.

Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease happens when your coronary arteries get narrower and reduce the blood flow to the heart. Usually, it’s the underlying cause of a heart attack. Coronary Heart Disease is actually the leading cause of death in Men in Australia, according to www.aihw.gov.au, making it worth getting checked. Warning signs to look out for are a feeling of squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness or pain in your chest. If you have experienced any of these symptoms then get checked by your doctor ASAP.

Prostate Cancer

Movember isn’t far away, so be aware and get checked. In fact, did you know that you can now have a blood test to check your prostate? You don’t have to grow a moustache to be involved in Movember. Instead, book in with your GP and check in with your friends and family to make sure they are up to date with prostate checks as well. Overall, one in six men will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer by their 85th Birthday.

Remember, prevention is always better than a cure.

Mental Health

According to Beyond Blue, the suicide rate is three times higher in males than females. In addition, 1 in 8 males will experience depression in their lifetimes. Despite this, many men don’t seek help and the stigma of mental health is still a problem. Don’t be afraid to check in with those around you and if you’re having a tough time then reach out. Remember, ‘it ain’t weak to speak’.

Have a chat with your GP or call the Lifeline 24hour crisis line on 13 11 14.

A 19 Palmer St, North Mackay


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Finding Our Place – Wuchopperen Children and Family Centre

At our Children and Family Centre at Wuchopperen, we are always looking at how we implement our team’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural knowledge into our programming. It helps us to foster a child’s personal and cultural development. Some of these lessons are unique to each country (did you know there are over 500 different countries in Australia!). But, we can apply some of these lessons to all children. For example, how we find our place and develop our identity. 

In Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures one of the most significant parts of a child’s upbringing is their connection with their mob, family and kin. While family connection is important for all children, in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, it is not just our immediate nucleus family that play an important and lasting role in our lives. We have a wider circle of complex family ties; often with many brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunties, uncles and cousins. They all play significant and differing roles in teaching and guiding us as we grow. Often our siblings are see as an extension of ourselves. Children will often refer to them as “Mum” or “Dad” too as we move into becoming parents. 

Our identity and family influence so many aspects of life. This includes not just how we interact with our immediate family, but within our extended families and wider communities.

Understanding the importance of our roles within our families and communities is crucial to our identities. We encourage our children to explore their roles. It’a crucial to develop self-esteem and an understanding of their worthiness. In fact, modern psychotherapy tells us that children who have knowledge of identity and high levels of self-esteem will go on to perform better in all areas of their adult lives. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been implementing practices supporting these ideals for thousands of years.

From early childhood, we know who our mob is and where we are from. This knowledge is then embedded in our family identity, our language and our connection to our country.

If your family aren’t Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, have a think about how your child develops their identity. This includes their cultural or community identity as well as their personal identity. If you want to explore more on this theme, our playgroups at the Wuchopperen Children and Family Centre are open to all families with children under 5 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. In these Playgroups you and your child can learn all about our different cultures, and maybe share a thing or two with us too!

Article written by Wuchopperen Health Service. 

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Talking to Children About Racism, Discrimination and Equality

The recent Black Lives Matter protests in the US, the public support in Australia and from around the globe, has brought the issues of racism and inequality to the fore. After the loss of another human life with the tragic death of George Floyd, an African American man – individuals have taken to the streets to protest police violence against black people. Here, in Australia, our First Peoples also experience discrimination and inequality. There are disproportionate statistics for Indigenous incarceration and deaths in custody. So, this isn’t an issue that’s far from home.  

Inevitably, our children will witness these events in the media. As parents, teachers and carers we can take the opportunity to teach our children about race, racism and equality. This helps our children be part of the movement for positive change in the world as they come to understand what’s behind the Black Lives Matter movement. Now as a parent you might be thinking “yes, I want my children to understand that Black Lives Matter. Additionally I also want them to understand that ALL lives matter, so I’ll have a conversation about that instead.” Here’s why it’s important to consider having a conversation about BOTH as fundamentally, they’re not the same issue. Plus YES, Black Lives Matter is relevant in Australia. 

Black Lives Matter

The Black Lives Matter movement is dedicated to raising awareness and stopping police brutality against African American people. It began back in 2013, following the death of African American teen Trayvon Martin. The movement highlights the differential treatment of People of Colour when compared with White people. This treatment is in terms of police discrimination, brutality and death.

I spoke with Aboriginal Elder, Aunty Munya Andrews about the topic. I wanted to gain a better understanding of the issue and how it relates to Indigenous Australians. Here is what Aunty Munya had to say:

Some people have taken the “Black Lives Matter” slogan to include the phrase ‘All lives matter’ and while that is true, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are talking about the systemic brutalisation and discrimination of black people. When this systemic brutalisation impacts all people in society equally, then we can talk about “All lives matter.”

There are some people who claim that the “Black Lives Matter” movement is not relevant to Australia but that’s not the case at all. Aboriginal people face the same sort of treatment that African Americans do and our social indicators such as the high disproportionate figures of Indigenous incarceration are virtually the same. So, the “Black Lives Matter” movement is totally relevant and applicable to the situation here in Australia.

We all need to stand together as Allies to end this appalling, intolerable treatment of people based purely on the colour of their skin.

“Black Lives Matter”.

As parents, carers and teachers, once we’ve opened up the conversation on Black Lives Matter with our children, we can then talk about the importance of respect and equality for all people.

Respect and equality for all of humanity

To create a world where all people are treated equally, we need to help our children develop:

  • knowledge and understanding about what privilege, discrimination and racism are;
  • beliefs that all people deserve to be treated equally;
  • skills that enable children to interact and communicate with others in a caring and respectful way; and
  • an understanding of the importance of standing up for equality and inclusivity. Understanding the importance of not supporting discrimination on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, class, or sexual identity – with thoughts, words or actions.

Children learn how to be in the world by watching those around them. Therefore, how adults behave when it comes to equality and inclusivity, matters. Children also learn by what parents, teachers, family and friends teach them. We can start our children’s education on race, inclusivity and equality at a very early age. It’s the same way we teach our children numbers, reading and writing skills – we start very simply and add the complexity when it’s developmentally appropriate.

Making time to talk

I understand that talking about race and racism isn’t an easy topic. Parents and teachers we need to have conversations about many difficult topics like drugs, pornography, domestic violence and death. But, just because they are challenging topics doesn’t mean we can avoid having them.

To give you some ideas on how to start a conversation, here’s a simple 15-minute activity you can complete with children on privilege, racial discrimination and equality. This short activity is from one of my Life Skills e-books to help children develop their Social and Environmental Understanding – just one of the many topics we explore in my series of seven life skills e-books. These resources were developed to give parents and teachers short activities they can complete with children to help them develop key life skills to navigate life successfully. You can find out more about the Life skills e-book series here.

Helping your child understand more about racial discrimination

Social awareness is about being conscious of the issues that different people, communities, or societies face on a day-to-day basis. Children with an awakened social consciousness are more likely to act in a positive way. These children will be more empathic towards others regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, class, or sexual identity.

This activity looks at privilege, racism and equality and serves two purposes:

  1. Increases your children’s awareness of how they and others live in society.
  2. Helps your children become more empathetic towards others and consider how they can make a positive difference either now or in the future.

Step 1 – fact finding

Invite your children to share if they have friends from other countries or other cultures. Ask your children to explain if they know what the terms “race” and “racism” mean. Invite your children to think about whether they have noticed children being mean to others based on their country of origin or culture or if your children have experienced racism?

Ask your children if they have seen anything in the media about the recent protests in the US and Australia to stop police brutality against black people Black Lives Matter.

Invite your child to discuss what they have learned about Australia’s First Peoples and the gap between Indigenous Australians’ and non-Indigenous Australians in areas such as education, health and life expectancy.

Explore the concept of privilege from your child’s perspective.

Step 2 – doing the activity

Building on your children’s understanding as indicated by their responses in step one, discuss with your children what privilege, equality, race and racism are by sharing your knowledge, understanding and views. Here are some points that may help you. 

Racism can include verbal abuse or ridicule, social exclusion and even violence. Racism can be based on many things including: appearance of people from different races, differences in religious beliefs or practices, differences in cultural or religious dress.

Privilege is an advantage or entitlement that a person or group of people may have. Privilege can include things like food, money, education, possessions or status. Privileged groups can be advantaged based on social class, age, disability, ethnic or racial category, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or religion. People with privilege can use it to the benefit or detriment of others. Most importantly, privilege isn’t a bad thing and can be used to do good in the world.

Science proves that humanity – although diverse – is one family and one people. All people feel pain if they are hurt; bleed if they are cut; are born of a mother and father; are able to love and are capable of hateful actions.

Children may either respect, support and care for each other – regardless of ethnicity – or they can be cruel and hurtful. Ask your children how they wish to treat others. Ask your children to talk about how they wish to be treated. 

Explore what your child might do if they saw someone being racist or mean to others because of their social class, age, disability, ethnic or racial category, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or religion.

Ask questions like: how would you react? Would you join in? Would you stand up for the person – if it is safe to do so? If it isn’t safe – would you get an adult to help? Giving children options can help them know how to behave if they encounter racism or discrimination.

Finishing up the activity

Ask your children to share if this activity has it increased their awareness of discrimination, the Black Lives Matter movement, our First Peoples and the importance of treating people equally. Has it started them thinking about racism in their own lives or in society? Ask your children to talk about how they could be more inclusive of people from different races at school. Invite your children to think about how they could make a positive difference either now or in the future to children from different ethnic backgrounds. Discuss ways your children can manage racist remarks they may experience. Or, what to do if they see others being racist. Ensure your children know how to seek assistance from an adult if needed. 

Tip’s for young children

Even young children can be taught the value of equality and diversity in society. Furthermore all children can be encouraged to be socially inclusive with their friendships. Cultural diversity allows us to experience different foods and ways of being in the world. Just keep the language simple. Explain that people from different counties may dress differently, eat differently and speak different languages. These differences are what make society interesting and rich. Discuss why it is hurtful to tease or exclude other children based on their skin colour, cultural or religious beliefs.

You may also like to talk about what you’d like your children to do if someone teases or hurts them based on their ethnicity. For example, you may encourage your children to say to the offending child “I don’t like it when you talk to me like that. Please stop it now.” Or you may prefer to instruct them to simply walk away. You may recommend to your children that they talk to an adult (parent or teacher) if it happens repeatedly to them or to other children. Providing young children with possible courses of action helps them to navigate the world effectively. 

Tips for older children and teens

After an initial conversation, you could encourage your children to learn more about the topic so they can understand how to make a positive difference in their community. Reading the book, Young Dark Emu: A Truer History by Bruce Pascoe or for older teens. Dark Emu is a great way for our children to learn more about the historical treatment of Aboriginal people at the time of colonisation and  how our First Peoples’ knowledge of the environment and environmental practices has sustained the land across Australia. Families can continue the conversation by discussing Australia’s historical treatment of our Indigenous peoples. Discuss the negative impact it has had on their lives and what we can do to close the gap in outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The book ‘Young Dark Emu’ by Bruce Pascoe is a great resource for younger and older children (aged 7 – 12) that uses the accounts of early Europeans explorers, colonists and farmers to argue for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. 

Ongoing conversations

One conversation isn’t enough. In the same way that we continue to support our children to learn to read and write over many years of schooling – developing life skills that support children to be inclusive and promote respect and equality takes time and effort. As children mature, parents and teachers can have ongoing conversations about race and racism. Adults need to provide consistent positive messages about kindness, respect and equality for all people.

It’s important to continue to reinforce positive behaviour and consistently remind our children how to be respectful when we see negative behaviour. By the same token, parents need to model good behaviour consistently as well. How diverse is your friendship base? If you encounter racism – what do you do?

Being a proactive and vigilant parent will take a little more time in the short-term. However, there are many benefits for your family and for society that make it worthwhile in the long-term. Teaching your child to be respectful means they’ll be less likely to engage in aggressive or disrespectful behaviour that you’ll need to address with friends, or at school. No-one wants to get called up to the school or have a difficult conversation with another child’s parent! Right?

Are your children experiencing racism?

If your children are experiencing racial discrimination, you can seek assistance at school and from government organisations in your area. If your children are inflicting racial discrimination, you can provide them with the information and resources to understand a more respectful way to be with others from diverse backgrounds as explained above.

Learning social skills that help children to nurture relationships will support them to make friends. They will be loving members of their family and caring members of their community.

Changing the world starts at home

Every adult can play a key role in stopping violence, discrimination and inequality. This can be done by raising our children to expect respect and to be respectful to others. Yes, that’s regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, disability, class, or sexual identity. Parents and carers can teach their children these skills by being good role models. Additionally we need to guide them to change their behaviour whenever they behave in a way that harms others or themselves. This way, we not only improve and enrich our own family life, but also the lives of others in our community, our nation and over time – the world.



National Simultaneous Storytime Event Returns In 2020

The National Simultaneous Storytime event, hosted by the Australian Library and Information Association, will be going ahead this year as usual. This will be the 20th year that the special event has taken place. You can take part in it on Wednesday 27 May, 11:00am EST!

Each year a picture book is selected to be read-aloud in libraries, schools, childcare centres, children’s hospitals and bookshops simultaneously, all across Australia and New Zealand. However, due to restrictions brought about by COVID-19, this year’s storytime will be virtual instead. Hoping to reach over 1 million kids across both nations, the book Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas by Lucinda Gifford, published by Scholastic Australia, can be read online from the comfort of your home, classroom or wherever you are.

Teachers and families can join in the fun by registering at alia.org.au/nss for FREE. In addition, this will also give you access to some cool downloadable craft activities.

From here you can also purchase the book to keep with you. Use their colouring in sheets and put them in your windows to spread the message of the event! This will help get as many of your friends involved as possible. Plus, you can even win a free, signed copy of the book and merchandise! Take a photo of how you are sharing the message of the storytime event with everyone and use the hashtag #NSS2020 when uploading it to social media to win of five free packs.

Last year’s storytime event saw over 1 million readers over more than 11,000 different locations joining in with Matt Cosgrove. He read his great book, Alpacas with Maracas. This year Scholastic Australia will be giving children within the major children’s hospitals a free copy of the book – just to make it extra special! 

Scholastic Australia is part of Scholastic Inc, the world’s largest children’s publisher and distributor of books and more. They are proud to be supporting this amazing initiative, which not only promotes children’s literacy but keeps us all connected at a time when we need it most.  

About the creator
Lucinda Gifford is a multi-talented, award-winning author and illustrator. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and two children. Despite being a self-appointed Photoshop guru, she is equally happy creating her illustrations with ink, pencil, charcoal and gouache.




Dear Glen, How can we protect our skin from the sun?

With the weather heating up and living in North Queensland (a region with one of the highest incidences of skin cancers in the world), we have to be wary that we can easily get seriously burnt and cause damage to our skin.

The classic campaign of Slip (on a shirt), Slop (on some sunscreen), Slap (on a hat), Seek (shade) and Slide (on some sunglasses), is more relevant than ever to prevent everyone in the family from getting sunburnt.

At Gasworks Pharmacy, we love to assist people to prevent them from getting sunburnt. It may be confusing with all the different brands claiming different SPF.

How to select a sunscreen

When selecting your sunscreen, the higher SPF doesn’t necessarily mean the more coverage you have. SPF is the Sun Protection Factor of the cream – meaning a rating of how long it takes your skin to get damaged by the sun. This means if it takes you one minute to receive sun damage, a SPF 50+ sunscreen will protect you for 50 minutes. This is why re-applying the sunscreen regularly is important; especially if the cream has been washed off from swimming or from heavy sweating.

For those with sensitive skin

For those patients with sensitive skin as well as young children and babies, it is always important to do a patch test on the underside of the forearm. Place a small amount of the cream onto this spot, 24 hours before you are going to use it on the rest of the body. If the skin becomes red and inflamed or is itchy for the person, then they will be glad that it wasn’t used all over the rest of the body.

If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to come in and have a chat to one of our staff. We have a huge range of products from sunglasses and skin protection, to what you should use if you unfortunately get sunburnt or sunstroke.

P 4957 5522