- Written by Nik Babovic
- Published: 10 Oct 2017
Stigma...What Can We Do About It?
Stigma and discrimination can have a significant impact on people with mental illness and their family and friends. The greatest impact appears to be related to personal relationships and employment.
Research has shown that people with mental health problems are pre-judged, find it hard to get jobs and sustain friendships and relationships. Research has also shown that ignorance, fear, and stereotypes presented in the newspapers, on the TV and social media all contribute to negative attitudes towards mental ill health. Most people have little knowledge about mental illness and their opinions are often factually incorrect.
It is unlawful to vilify people on the grounds of religion, race, sex or sexual preference in most parts of Australia. However, in most States and Territories, it remains lawful to vilify people with a disability, including those living with a mental illness. This is why taking action to reduce stigma is so important.
- Think about mental illness like any other illness or health condition, and bring them into the open.
- Talk about mental illness openly with everyone you meet – it is surprising how many people are affected by mental illness, particularly the highly prevalent disorders or depression and anxiety.
- Educate the community to overcome negative stereotypes based on misconceptions.
- Promote mental health and healthy attitudes through childhood and adult life.
- Support the development of resilience; learn ways to deal with stress in relationships, situations and events.
- Assist friends and family with a mental illness to obtain care and treatment as early as possible.
- Ensure high quality support and treatment services are provided to people who have mental illness, who experience the confusion, distress, and stigma that can accompany mental illness.
Information about courses that provide a greater level of knowledge, training & awareness about Mental Health can be found on our Diploma of Mental Health course page, Certificate IV in Mental Health course page and our Mental Health First Aid Training page.