OPINION: Strong Families Show Way Forward

One does not have to be “doctor” with a PhD in sociology, MD, MBBS or a scientist to have a read of volumes of local, regional and international research and
09 Jun 2015 11:15
OPINION: Strong Families Show Way Forward

One does not have to be “doctor” with a PhD in sociology, MD, MBBS or a scientist to have a read of volumes of local, regional and international research and conferences reports that pinpoints that the FAMILY institution is central to all the social and other issues.

When there is a case of drugs and substance abuse the entire family is concerned.

When there is a traffic accident and someone is injured, the entire family is traumatised.

When there is case of self-harm or suicide the entire family is affected and all family members and relatives close ranks and cover up.

In case of domestic and family violence, the entire family is emotionally and socially traumatised.

Longer working hours are intrusive to family life and children’s upbringing.

Our attachment to the electronic leashes like emails, cell phones, and growing number of technological sites in the social media are blurring the work and life areas that is now affecting the whole family and spiritual commitments.

Family time and children’s wellbeing is also compromised by our addictions to TV programs and in particular on sporting events.

When there is divorce and related issues the whole family is affected.

While the family size is reduced, problems have magnified.

If the seniors in the family are abused all family members suffer.

When a child does well in school, sports or studies the whole family celebrates but if there is break in performance all are concerned.

The family is affected when companies and employers provide hi-tech for communications like laptops, smartphones etc. in global companies to remain in touch, and these devices disrupt the in-home family atmosphere.


Longer hours

Parents who work longer hours have less time to be with their families, when because of demands of urban living and financial wellbeing of the family both parents are now more required to work and the wellbeing of the child is left to the home helper or to “TV nanny.”

More and more studies show that emotional wellness of the parents at work place goes on to affect the family.

In the name of free trade and commercial competition, the families are bombarded with a wide range of consumer items which lead to unnecessary buying which affects the disposal income in the family.

The free availability of alcohol and other health destroying drugs and substances families face tough choices.

The rising tide of mental illness like dementia, depression, work emotional health and stress have now become a reality for Asia Pacific region and unless we make this our personal responsibility to bring about awareness, it will become tsunami that will wreck the family and community life.

“The economic cost of mental illness will be more than cancer, diabetes and respiratory illness put together;” says, Thomas Insel, director of National Institute of Mental Health USA.

Family members are begging “officially” to raise money for their dear ones for overseas medical treatment, and in many instances they are unable to make the journey because of death.


Economic costs

The economic costs of social and medical ill health are going to affect the families for many years to come.

WHO says, “Suicide is a major public health problem, with far reaching social, emotional and economic consequences. There are approximately one million suicides a year worldwide, and it is estimated that around six people are affected by each death.” This sums up the need to put family at the Centre of all our prevention efforts.

As WHO says that for every case there are six others affected, in this case, asportrayed by the mainstream media it appears that not only the parents and neighbours, the entire nation has been affected and many questions have been raised and are being raised. Given the importance of culture and family in the Asia Pacific region, a very wide range of people are affected.

Over the years, efforts are being made by civil society and government agencies to bring about awareness on suicide, mental health and addictions but it appears that it is going below the social radar. Families must heed to these warnings!

Families are the hopes for the future and nurturing and empowering the family holds the key to tackle the rising tides of NCDs, violence, and many health and social issues that the population is facing or going through.

Families are the backbone for the financial success of the business and the corporate sector as all advertisements are directed to lure families into buying. However, in the recent years the through the corporate social responsibility, the sector is giving back to the community through projects and programs that benefit families directly and indirectly like upgrading hospital wards, community health and wellbeing and micro business etc.

Families cannot rely on government and civil society agencies to do things and no amount of legislations will solve the problems families are facing as these are mostly their own doings.

All the issues and problems mentioned are controllable by ourselves by taking heed of the many messages, warnings, suggestions, circulation of information through a very wide range of methods that are available and used today.

The communities would be strong if families take the task of their own healthy, secure and productive life.

Feedback: newsroom@fijisun.com.fj


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