Man looking at the camera

Real people, real stories

The National Stigma Report Card is not just about numbers. Stigma and discrimination have a very real impact on the lives of people living with complex mental health issues. 

The voices of people with lived experience must not only be heard, but also be the cornerstone of policy decisions and system redesign, to ensure change is effective and sustainable. 

Overarching lived experience reflections

The insights shared below are all from people with lived experience of complex mental health issues. 

They include responses given by Our Turn to Speak survey participants and reflections on the National Stigma Report Card findings from SANE Australia Peer Ambassadors. 


“We need people to respect us. Listen to us. Accommodate our needs. The public, and especially people in our own lives. Friends, family, and workplaces. Stigma and discrimination exacerbate the distress and worsening of mental illness. We have a long, long way to go.”

– Our Turn to Speak participant, Victoria


Peer Ambassador, Cam

Cameron Solnordal

SANE Australia Peer Ambassador

Now that the questions have been asked and finally answered, there is absolutely no excuse to delay action any further. The data we have gathered for the National Stigma Report Card is everything we need to begin. We don’t need another discussion, we don’t need another database, we don’t need any more vagaries of pushing ideas around a table. So many areas of the mental health community have finally had their voices heard and we now know what needs to be done. There is nothing left to do but hit go.

We can now change the levels of care, the depth of services, and also, the future culture around mental health. The fears of people with mental health issues and medical professionals, the despondency of carers and relatives, and the apprehension and stigma of employers are all documented in this report card. We can now work together toward the next decade of change, understanding and acceptance.

As a person living with mental illness, I am most excited about the progress we can make to change the entire culture of mental health. There is so much potential for everyone in Australia to see what we have to offer the community from our depth and breadth of lived experience.

Peer Ambassador, Sophie

Sophie Raphael

SANE Australia Peer Ambassador

I absolutely resonate with the resounding concern regarding education, understanding and acceptance from the public domain – including in the arenas of health, welfare and employment. While we have come a long way in the later 20th century/early 21st century in increasing public education and acceptance of mental health conditions, there is still an undeniable presence of stigma and discrimination to be addressed. 

Lived experience has a powerful role to play in facilitating this necessary education, with many opportunities trailblazing a path forward, for example, in including lived experience as part of clinical mental health teams and in emergency room settings. Lived experience collaboration with clinically trained professionals is key for progress.