Chronic Pain - Awareness & Advocacy
Health has always been a major part of my life – working in hospital, non-government health organisations and private specialist clinics in a variety of administrative roles; part & full-time complementary health practice (bodywork modalities; taiji & qigong; energy rebalancing); as well as long-term personal experience with chronic pain.
An expression of interest meeting was held in October 2010 from which Pain Support ACT (PSACT) was formed. Its aim: support, information and advocacy for people in Canberra & surrounding region with chronic pain, their family and carers.
As a result I am one of the founding members of Pain Support ACT inc (PSACT), and was on PSACT Committees for seven years. I continue to be involved in pain support and information, as well as advocacy on local and national pain issues.
An important part of PSACT Inc’s function is advocacy directly with local public and private health areas to promote the impact of chronic pain. There are other pain organisations which work at a federal level, and PSACT has also been invited to have input on federal initiatives.
Over the years PSACT has received assistance from other support organisations enabling the new organisation to focus on establishing discussion as well as expert speaker meetings, without the need to divert precious energy to fundraising. The core PSACT members have chronic pain so the freedom to just arrange meetings has always been greatly appreciated. The first Steering Committee was established mid-2012. January 2015 – Incorporation: Pain Support ACT has come of age and is now a support and advocacy group in its own right. Funding is still via donation and some small community grants until 2018 when eligibility for grants changed. And now ...
Pain Support ACT found its 'feet' within the chronic pain organisation Arthritis ACT and has come full circle with Arthritis ACT expanding their definition of chronic pain principles of PSACT. You don't have to have arthritis to be a member of PSACT Arthritis ACT.
Suzanne's other projects, advocacy and groups:
Health Care Consumers Association (HCCA Canberra Australia) Chronic Conditions Seminar Series: Depression and anxiety, 23 May 2019 - guest speaker on catastrophising and fear when coping with trying to live with a chronic health condition.
Alzheimer’s Australia ACT press conference - Australian Pain Management Association representative July 2012
Australian Medical Council focus group on the Royal Australasian College of Physicians' education and training programs: Australian Pain Management Association & PSACT representative 2014.
Submission to the Health Protection Services "Controlled Medicines Prescribing Standards"
Meditation for chronic pain - talks and demonstrations at various PSACT meetings; and ACT MECFS Society
Contributor to Societal Impact of Pain (SIP) discussions on Linkedin, particularly for the review of the World Health Organisation's 10th International Classification of Disease (ICD) Code. In 1994 chronic pain was listed in the ICD for the first time, under mental and behavioural disorders. In the current Review process recognition of chronic pain as a primary symptom is being sought by moving it into its own category with a separate coding number. Hopefully this move will provide greater awareness, research & education into the very real issues around debility caused by chronic pain.
The ICD code was established in the mid-late 1800s, with the 11th ICD Code preview released on 18 June 2018, to be presented to World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption by Member States, and come into effect 1 January 2022.
PSACT contact details: membership & meetings