Stigma stops people asking for help and getting the treatment and support they need. It makes it more difficult to find somewhere decent to live, a job, a mortgage, or insurance. It can make it more difficult to get help to look after children, make friends, feel good about yourself, or even to feel that life is worth living. Stigma is a major barrier to recovery. If people with mental illness are to be included as equal members of our society, then stigma and its associated discrimination must be eliminated.
This report examines the impact stigma has on the lives of people affected by mental illness, including an overview of associated issues from the growing body of research in this area. It describes some of the major stigma-reduction initiatives carried out in Australia and overseas, looks at the evidence base to identify what works, and makes recommendations for future action in Australia to create a life without stigma.