Wake up Australia

Jesus said to go into all the world, starting in your own neighbourhood. In many of our so-called middle-class communities, families are incredibly isolated. The Church has the answer.

In Brisbane this year, twin toddlers from a middle-class suburban family in Brisbane starved to death. The Australian newspaper said that this should be a disturbing “wake-up call” for middle Australia and should spark a debate about the difficulty of parenting.

The 35-year-old father of six was sentenced on Monday this week to eight years’ jail for his twins’ manslaughter, a month after his ex-partner received the same punishment. The Queensland Supreme Court was told the severely depressed Brisbane woman had refused to let friends and family into the twins’ bedroom for fear they would be removed from her care. She withdrew from social situations as her relationship with her high-school sweetheart collapsed, a result of his excessive drinking and gambling. Brain and Mind Research Institute director, Professor Ian Hickie, is one of Australia’s mental health commissioners. He said that such tragedies were becoming “all too common”, as communities became less connected. “We’ve seen situations of families living in middle-class suburbs in reasonable places coming to tragic ends and grief and death, without anyone in the surrounding suburbs or wider community being aware of the desperate state of affairs”.

If you think a friend, neighbour or colleague is struggling to cope psychologically, reach out. If we know someone is at home dealing with cancer, or severe arthritis, and really struggling, we don’t say, ‘let’s give them some space’. But mental-health remains very difficult to understand.

The Church understands how difficult parenting is and we have answers. Go into all the world.