National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy

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

The National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy includes a long-term vision for an Australian community where everyone has equal dignity, value and respect, and opportunities to choose a life of personal meaning and purpose, free from mental health-related stigma and discrimination.

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

  • Reduce self-stigma amongst those who experience mental health issues and those who support them
  • Reduce public stigma by changing attitudes and behaviours towards people with personal lived experience and carers, families and support people
  • Take steps towards eliminating structural stigma and discrimination towards those affected by mental health issues in identified settings.

The Strategy concentrates 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 was developed through a collaborative process with people with a lived experience of mental health issues, trauma, distress or suicidality, families, carers and support people, along with people with other forms of expertise across each workstream and the broader community.

The Commission 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 was chaired by Tim Heffernan and Professor the Hon. Kevin Bell AM KC and consists of the following members:

  • three grils sitting togetherTanya 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 were convened to provide specific advice. These groups and their Co-Chairs were:

  • Self-Stigma: Lucy Thomas OAM and Tony Clarkson
  • Public Stigma: Jess Mitchell and Associate Professor Jo Robinson AM
  • Reducing Structural Stigma and Discrimination: Jo Rasmussen and Margaret Grigg OAM
  • 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.



Project timeline

A 12-week public consultation period was held from 9 November 2022 and closed on
1 February 2023. Feedback informed revisions to the final Strategy.

Further information about the Strategy, its areas of focus, committee structure and supporting research, as well as a report on feedback received through the consultation period, can be found on the project hub page.

Enquiries regarding the Strategy can be directed to

Last updated:
  • Stigma

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 and present, 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.