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Greens call for national campaign to tackle mental health stigma

Media Release
Penny Wright 11 Oct 2014

The Federal Government should establish a national anti-stigma campaign to tackle ongoing misperceptions and discrimination around mental illness, say the Australian Greens.

Australian Greens spokesperson for mental health Senator Penny Wright said Australia is one of the only English-speaking OECD countries without a national anti-stigma social inclusion campaign.

"It is time for the Federal Government to step up and get serious about tackling stigma in Australia," Senator Wright said.

"Many people say stigma and prejudice are as distressing as the symptoms of their mental illness. It is also one of the biggest barriers to recovery."

Senator Wright said despite significant awareness-raising in recent years, stigma around mental illness was still prevalent.

"Mental Health Week has started the conversation and I commend the ABC on their groundbreaking Mental As initiative, but there is still so much more to do.

"One survey this week revealed 40 per cent of employers would not consider hiring someone with a mental illness," Senator Wright said.

"We need leadership from the Federal Government to say we recognise the human and economic costs of stigma around mental illness are too high and we are going to do something about it."

The Australian Greens recommend a national anti-stigma campaign be modelled on New Zealand's Like Minds, Like Mine.

"There's strong evidence that ongoing, national anti-stigma campaigns change public attitudes towards mental illness and influence our behaviour," Senator Wright added.

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