In the news Mentals

“Saner heads prevailed.”

In a move that should shock precisely no one, inexplicable TV anchor David “Kochie” Koch has used his place in the public eye to speak insensitively about something he doesn’t understand.

So out of character, right?

It appears that Kochie decided, as a result of his sanity, to speak frankly about the ways in which Adam Boland’s mental health difficulties meant that he was right and Boland was an unreliable insane-o.

Here, you can watch it. It’s great for those moments when you’re feeling like maybe you can be a functional part of society even though you have a mental illness, like I just was.

“… saner heads prevailed,” Kochie says, to which Sam Armytage replies, “Of course they were sane!” which is not offensive because her grandfather was bipolar and also she has that alleged thing with the big guy from the telly.

(See also: Tony Abbott claiming that having daughters has made him a feminist. Circumstance and genetics do not beget understanding, folks.)

Natalie Barr, who was also implicated in the supposed email from the insane person, and who last week demonstrated how in touch she is with society with this piece, laughs, “And brilliant minds stepped in!”

After that, I can only assume that these four completely sane people went on in their sanity for the rest of the show.

Alternatively, consider this script:

In news that no one cares about except us, another show that also sucks balls played a segment about an email. This email was sent by someone who didn’t even work on the show at the time.

It’s a steaming pile of poo!

Fortunately, less cancerous people took over.

Of course they were less cancerous!

And brilliant, non-cancerous bodies stepped in!


A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed for a piece about speaking to employers about mental illness. The fear of speaking out is blackening. From inside depression or anxiety or other mental illnesses, it can feel like there is no one who could possibly understand. It feels like the employer will open a trapdoor under you and you will plummet into the sea.

In my case, I have been exceedingly fortunate in having understanding employers. To my great relief, these kind and empathetic people  have looked at the quality of my work and my dedication to the task and said, “Okay Anna, let’s see how we can make this work for everyone.” They haven’t said, “We should get a saner person in to do this,” or, “You are an insane person, so you are bad at everything.” But that’s not true of everyone. Many people, through lack of education or awareness, believe that “having a mental illness” and “being bad at doing stuff” is causality.

There are organisations that dedicate hours and dollars and people to combating this assumption. There are people who dedicate their lives to improving society’s understanding of what it actually means to have a mental illness. There are head shrinkers who spend countless hours taking these people who suffer from mental illness and pushing and pulling and bending to change their thinking, to help them to believe that they are valid and useful and mentally unhealthy. Not even in spite of, but just as well as.

Adam Boland speaks frankly and openly about difficulties that have arisen from his battles with his brain. That should be an opportunity to increase understanding, and to recognise that he has achieved great things and that his mental illness(es) have not stopped him from being good at what he does. Instead, at the other end of the spectrum, on another planet, in another universe, people like David Koch hold him hostage. Hold people like him hostage. Me, you, the guy opposite me in the library who is reading The Antidepressant Solution and trying to figure out whether he is still valuable and relevant.

Fuck you, David Koch, for your revolting extension and perpetuation of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Fuck you, David Koch, for implying that someone’s “saneness” has an indisputable correlation to their ability to perform.

Fuck you, David Koch, for giving half a million people new reason to think that to be mentally ill is to be less.


“Anna Spargo-Ryan returns with another impressive novel that will have readers feeling every emotion experienced by the beautifully written characters.” Books + Publishing

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I’m Anna, a digital strategist and writer who likes to drink 'Ice Tea' but doesn't understand why it's not called 'Iced Tea'. By night and occasionally morning, I eat things, write things, berate my children, walk my dogs and hug my chocolate.

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