The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, Patron-in-Chief of SANE Australia, today (22 November 2018) launched the Anne Deveson Research Centre, dedicated to driving policy change that will dramatically improve social outcomes for more than four million Australians affected by complex mental illness.
Named in honour of SANE Australia’s co-founder, the late Anne Deveson AO, the Centre will carry out practical research in areas not currently being examined, and prioritise research conducted in partnership with those with lived experience of complex mental illness.
In launching the Anne Deveson Research Centre, The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO said that people living with complex mental illness continue to experience unacceptable levels of stigma and discrimination and poorer health and employment outcomes.
Dame Quentin Bryce said: ‘Anne Deveson’s courage in breaking the silence on serious mental illness changed attitudes in the medical profession and the community. This new Centre bearing her name will continue her work with the same pioneering spirit that she brought to this complex issue of critical significance in our society, that has a serious impact on many families.’
Driven by her son Jonathan’s schizophrenia diagnosis in the 1980s, Anne Deveson opened up a public conversation about complex mental illness, and worked tirelessly to promote better understanding and empathy towards people living with mental illness and their loved ones.
Deputy CEO of SANE Australia and Founding Director of the Anne Deveson Research Centre, Dr Michelle Blanchard, said: ‘People with complex mental illness frequently experience socio-economic disadvantage including poverty, homelessness, unemployment, stigma and discrimination as a result of their diagnosis. We will carry out high quality, multi-disciplinary translational research that focuses on promoting social outcomes for those affected by complex mental illness.
‘This research will be the catalyst for the development and implementation of sound mental health policy that will result in significant improvements for those living with, or supporting someone with, a complex mental illness.’
Janet Meagher AM, joint recipient of the 2017 Australian Mental Health Prize and Patron of the Anne Deveson Research Centre, applauds the Centre’s approach to involving people like her who live with persistent and chronic mental illness, like schizophrenia, in setting the research agenda.
‘SANE has always placed people with lived experience at the centre of its services. Undertaking research in partnership with people who either live with or who are directly impacted by complex mental illness, will give much-needed voice to their experiences, and help us to better understand the social impacts of complex mental illness and address stigma,’ said Janet.
The flagship project of the Anne Deveson Research Centre will be the development of a National Stigma Report Card – based on the largest survey of its kind conducted in Australia - which will measure the experience of stigma and discrimination by Australians living with complex mental illness. In partnership with the Paul Ramsay Foundation, this initiative will establish key measures for understanding the experience of stigma and discrimination, and will seek to measure this nationally every two years.
Simon Freeman, CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, says the Foundation is proud to support this important initiative.
‘As an organisation, we are committed to supporting programs that address disadvantage and marginalisation amongst the Australian community
‘The outcomes of the National Stigma Report Card, alongside the vital research evidence generated by the Anne Deveson Research Centre, will give us a greater understanding of the impact of stigma and discrimination and drive significant improvements to the lives of these vulnerable Australians and their families.’
The Anne Deveson Research Centre was officially launched on Thursday, 22 November at 11am at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in Sydney. Anne served as an Executive Director of AFTRS from 1985-1988.
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About SANE Australia
SANE Australia is a national mental health charity working to support four million Australians affected by complex mental illness including schizophrenia, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression and anxiety.
About the Anne Deveson Research Centre
The Anne Deveson Research Centre (ADRC), an initiative of SANE Australia, promotes the wellbeing of Australians living with complex mental illness. It brings together researchers from a range of backgrounds and disciplines, and sector and industry partners, to explore the challenges faced by people living with complex mental illness. The ADRC prioritises research conducted in partnership with people who have lived experience of complex mental illness. The Centre was named after SANE Australia’s co-founder Anne Deveson AO, a pioneer in mental health who opened up the national public conversation about mental illness in Australia more than 30 years ago.
To request an interview with the Founding Director of the Anne Deveson Research Centre, Dr Michelle Blanchard, please contact: