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Productivity Commission’s final report on mental health echoes SANE Australia’s call to eliminate stigma and discrimination

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Media Release: 19 November 2020

SANE Australia welcomes the Final Report of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health, in particular the recommendation to develop a National Stigma Reduction Strategy to ensure people living with mental health issues get the support they need.

SANE Australia CEO Jack Heath said it had been a significant week for Australians affected by mental health issues with the release of the Productivity Commission’s Final Report, the release of the Suicide Prevention Adviser’s Interim Advice and the Vision 2030 Roadmap. Collectively, these reports paint a picture of a system in dire need of improvement and articulates a vision for change.  

“The recommendations across these reports outline important ways we can improve the provision of mental health care and support across the nation.  We particularly welcome the establishment of a new intergovernmental agreement on mental health and suicide prevention.  Unless we get clear agreement on how the Commonwealth and States and Territories will work to together, determine their respective responsibilities and fund appropriately, we will not make significant inroads to meeting the mental health needs of our community,” said Mr Heath.

“We are delighted with the recommendation to develop a National Stigma Reduction Strategy led by the National Mental Health Commission. This is consistent with SANE’s recommendation for action as part of the National Stigma Report Card project and foundational to achieving social inclusion, participation and better health outcomes for people experiencing mental health issues,” said Mr Heath.  

“The Productivity Commission report acknowledged that many people are not receiving the support they need and that stigma has a considerable impact on people’s experience of seeking support.  It is imperative that this strategy prioritises the needs of people affected by complex mental health issues, who experience stigma in a significant and profound way,” said Mr Heath.

SANE Australia’s Anne Deveson Research Centre recently launched the National Stigma Report Card, sharing the experiences of stigma and discrimination across several life domains from almost 2,000 Australians living with complex mental health issues.

The National Stigma Report Card called for a comprehensive, national, multifaceted and centrally funded stigma-reduction program focused on changing social attitudes to complex mental health issues is needed to ensure all Australians can live long and fulfilling lives, free from stigma and discrimination. 

The National Stigma Report Card also highlighted the need to ensure people with lived experience of complex mental health issues play a central role in training, service planning and ongoing oversight for health and social services, an aspiration also shared in the Commission’s Final Report.

“We have to develop a flexible, person-centered mental health system that is driven by the needs of people with a lived experience of mental health issues, as well as those who love and care for them. Providing resources for people to better design, direct and make decisions about their care is the basis of a strong mental health system,” said Anne Deveson Research Centre Director and SANE Australia Deputy CEO Dr Michelle Blanchard.

“We are optimistic about the suite of proposed reforms, but it is also critical that any reform activity is informed by the expertise of people living with mental health issues, their families and friends.  It is only by having lived experience front and centre in the design, development and implementation of these reforms that we will be on the path to ensuring that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

“We look forward to working with the Australian Government in prioritising and urgently implementing key reforms to make a real difference in the lives of people affected by complex mental health issues.”

Anyone looking for information, support and guidance from mental health professionals can contact the SANE Help Centre on 1800 187 263 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. from 10am-10pm AEST Monday to Friday.  For anyone in crisis, please call:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Line 1800 659 467
  • Mensline 1300 789 978
  • KidsHelpline 1800 551 800

ENDS


To request an interview with SANE Australia Deputy CEO and Director Anne Deveson Research Centre Dr Michelle Blanchard please contact:

Bianca Lapins, Senior PR and Media Advisor

M: 0438 092 371  E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ABOUT SANE AUSTRALIA
SANE Australia is a national mental health charity dedicated to making a real difference in the lives of people affected by complex mental health issues through support, research and advocacy. SANE’s vision is for an Australia where people affected by complex mental health issues live long and fulfilling lives, free from stigma and discrimination.

ABOUT THE ANNE DEVESON RESEARCH CENTRE

An initiative of SANE Australia, the Anne Deveson Research Centre undertakes practical research that drives policy change to produce better social outcomes for Australians affected by complex mental health issues.www.sane.org/adrc

ABOUT THE NATIONAL STIGMA REPORT CARD

The most comprehensive research of its kind in Australia, the National Stigma Report Card is the flagship project of the SANE Australia’s Anne Deveson Research Centre and is conducted in partnership with the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne and supported by the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

The National Stigma Report Card is informed by the Our Turn to Speak survey, which ran between October 2019 and March 2020. This survey captured the experiences of stigma and discrimination across several life domains from almost 2,000 Australians living with complex mental health issues.

For research findings and stories from people impacted by stigma and discrimination go to www.nationalstigmareportcard.com.au. To compare survey results from different life domains, mental health issues and demographics via the interactive online data explorer go to www.nationalstigmareportcard.com.au/data.

Last updated: 19 November 2020
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