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Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy

As a part of the Nation's mental health reform agenda the National Mental Health Commission has been tasked with developing a National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy.

The National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy includes a long-term vision for Australia where stigma and discrimination on the basis of mental ill-health are no longer barriers to people living long and contributing lives.

National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy logoThe Strategy’s focus and objectives include:

  • Reduce self-stigma amongst those who experience mental ill-health and those who support them
  • Reduce public stigma by changing attitudes and behaviours in the general community and amongst identified target audiences
  • Take steps towards eliminating structural stigma and discrimination towards those affected by mental ill-health in identified settings.

The Strategy will initially concentrate on stigma and discrimination reduction in the following settings:

  • Mental Health System
  • Health System
  • Financial Services, Insurance and Law
  • Education and Training
  • Employment
  • Social Services, Disability, Income Support and Housing

The Strategy will be developed in partnership with people with lived experience of mental ill-health and people who have been directly affected by stigma, along with people with other forms of expertise across the health sector and broader community.

The Commission has established a Steering Committee and series of Technical Advisory Groups to guide the development of the Strategy. The Steering Committee and Technical Advisory Groups are each co-chaired by people with lived experience and people with other forms of expertise in the specific settings the strategy aims to change.

The Steering Committee is chaired by Tim Heffernan and Professor the Hon. Kevin Bell AM QC and consists of the following members:

  • Tanya Blazewicz
  • Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine
  • John Canning
  • Dr Sarah Chalmers
  • Kelly Clark
  • Professor Allan Fels AO
  • Maria Katsonis
  • Mark Orr AM
  • Dave Peters
  • Professor Nicholas Procter
  • Sam Regi

Alongside the Steering Committee, a series of Technical Advisory Groups will be convened to provide specific advice. These groups and their Co-Chairs are:

  • Self-Stigma: Lucy Thomas and Tony Clarkson
  • Public Stigma: Jess Mitchell and Associate Professor Jo Robinson
  • Reducing Structural Stigma and Discrimination: Jo Rasmussen and Donnella Mills
  • Measurement: Jo Farmer and Professor Phil Batterham.

Stigma is a persistent, dry wind that strips us of our humanity. I chose to be involved because the National Stigma and Discrimination Strategy has the potential to ensure that the human rights of people who touch this earth differently are actively supported, so that we can live our lives in the ways that we choose.

Tim Heffernan

Co-chair, Steering Committee, National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy

Project timeline

A public and interjurisdictional consultation period will be held in mid-2022 before the Strategy is delivered to Government by the end of the year.

Across the life of the project there will also be additional opportunities for people with lived experience, family, friends, carers and support people and other stakeholders to inform the Strategy. These opportunities include:

  • Workshops to inform the content of the Strategy
  • Submissions to support the Strategy
  • Feedback on the draft strategy
  • Targeted draft strategy consultations
  • Workshops to inform the design of the strategy (mid-2022)
  • Provide submissions in response to the draft strategy (mid-2022)
  • Participate in targeted consultations 

Further information regarding these opportunities will be available on the Commission’s website and social media channels.

Enquiries regarding the Strategy can be directed to [email protected]


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Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past present and emerging, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.