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Mental health stigma ‘human rights issue’: Bligh

Queensland has announced a four-year public awareness campaign to tackle the stigma associated with mental illness.

Discrimination against mentally ill people is a profound human rights issue, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said.

To tackle the issue, Bligh announced an $8.5 million, four-year campaign to raise public awareness of mental illness.

She said Australia was the only English-speaking OECD country that didn't have a national campaign aimed at ending the stigma associated with mental illness.

"As of today, Queensland takes the lead across Australia," she said.

In the coming weeks Queenslanders will be bombarded by television and newspaper advertisements that urge people to think about the effect their attitudes can have on those with a mental illness.

"The campaign, Change Our Minds, is about encouraging every one of us to accept and value people regardless of their mental illness," she said, to coincide with Mental Health Week.

She said Mental Health Week was an important opportunity to make sure those who are living with mental illness know that they are valued members of the community.

"The discrimination against people with a mental illness is a profound human rights issue for all of us in the 21st century," she said.

"Too often people feel that they can't tell people that they have a mental illness.

"We need to encourage people to be open about it and to seek treatment. It's much harder to do that if they feel they will be treated poorly.

"We need to lift the veil of silence and stigma against mental illness."


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