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Recommendations for action

People who live with complex mental health issues have shared their experiences of stigma and discrimination in relation to key aspects of their lives through Our Turn to Speak, the most comprehensive survey of its kind conducted in Australia. 

The survey findings, which form the National Stigma Report Card, provide a platform from which SANE Australia and the many individuals and organisations who have supported this research can continue to advocate for change.

The findings will inform SANE Australia’s advocacy priorities and support our mission to make a real difference in the lives of people affected by complex mental health issues.

Supporting individuals and organisations are encouraged to use the National Stigma Report Card to inform their own services and programs, and advocate for policy and resourcing changes at local, regional and national levels across the 14 life domains.

Key priorities

These priority recommendations for action directly respond to the Our Turn to Speak findings. 

When survey participants were asked what change is most needed to reduce stigma and discrimination, three overarching themes emerged from their responses:

  • Education, understanding, and acceptance
  • Communication and visibility
  • Accessible services, fair treatment and support

To eliminate stigma and discrimination in Australia, our leaders need to act to:

  1. Develop and resource a comprehensive 10-year national program of work to reduce stigma and discrimination associated with complex mental health issues.   
  2. Provide coordinated interjurisdictional governance and oversight by the National Mental Health Commission for implementation of a comprehensive 10-year national program of work to reduce stigma and discrimination associated with complex mental health issues, with the National Mental Health Commission responsible for implementation coordination.  
  3. 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. 

Eliminating stigma and discrimination towards people living with complex mental health issues requires a coordinated effort from all tiers of government and a range of sectors, as well as the support of the Australian community.   

Read the full recommendations

Recommendations relating to intersectionality

People may experience compounded stigma and discrimination as a result of their identity, physical characteristics or other health issues. The survey explored experiences of intersectional stigma and discrimination to better understand the impact that racial or cultural background, faith or spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity and physical health or ability had on participants’ experiences.


Recommendations for action 

  1. Provide improved physical health screening and care which focusses on indicators of health other than weight, with a focus on providing size inclusive, weight neutral ‘Health At Every Size’-informed care across both physical healthcare and mental healthcare settings.
  2. Ensure mental health information, resources and campaigns include diverse imagery that is inclusive of the LGBTIQA+ community, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with disability, and any age, size, gender, sex, sexuality, culture and religion.
  3. Increase education and understanding among mental health professionals of the unique needs of people from diverse cultural backgrounds, communities, and intersectional experiences; including people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, people of colour, people of diverse faiths and spiritual beliefs, people with physical and chronic health issues and disabilities, and people who identify as LGBTIQA+.

Recommendations by life domain

Click on each life domain for an overview of the current challenges and key findings as shared by Our Turn to Speak survey participants.

These findings have been used to develop the recommendations for action required to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with complex mental health issues across these 14 life domains.