Authors: Rita Evans, Dermot Casey, Kerry Webber, ACT
Event: 1999 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Recommended Reading, stigma, book of proceedings
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The burden of mental illnesses has been recognised at a global level. Research shows that mental ill health is an issue for all Australians – it is not something that happens to someone else. In Australia, mental health has been placed on the public and political agenda via a national mental health strategy and by being defined as a national health priority area. Historically, mental illnesses have been shrouded in myths and misunderstandings resulting in a stigma which is unjustified, false, prejudicial, discriminatory and assumptive. Notions of violence, unpredictability, grotesqueness and insanity have shaped these perceptions. The concept of human rights is an essential cornerstone for reform and there is compelling evidence that activities will need to cross traditional boundaries and reach outside of health. National initiatives to support the media in improving the accurate and responsible portrayal of mental health issues, for the general community, young people and health professionals to gain a higher level of mental health literacy, and for consumers and carers to be involved at all levels in driving the reforms, is critical.