Two organisations have partnered together to help drive positive societal change and improve the lives of Australians with psychosocial disability.
Peak mental health body, SANE Australia and the University of Melbourne’s School of Psychological Sciences have joined forces to help deliver the National Stigma Report Card, a project examining how more than 690,000 Australians living with complex mental illness experience stigma and discrimination across a range of areas, including housing, education, employment, health services and media representations.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer of SANE Australia, Dr Michelle Blanchard says the partnership came about through the organisation’s work on the National Stigma Report Card.
“As we were developing that project we connected with Dr Chris Groot from the University of Melbourne’s School of Psychological Sciences who leads their mental illness stigma lab.”
She says Dr Groot reached out to SANE Australia to participate in a seminar held at the university last year when they realised a partnership was the best way to deliver on the objectives of the National Stigma Report Card.
“As Chris and I were talking it became very apparent that his focus on understanding public stigma and our focus on understanding people with lived experience of stigma and discrimination was really aligned.
“We could also see there were a lot of other opportunities for us to work together, including in the education of undergraduate and postgraduate students in really bringing people with lived experience to the table.
“In terms of research to understand the issues affecting our workforce and their work with people with complex mental health issues and also more broadly, how we can inform the evidence base around what works in this space.”
SANE and the University of Melbourne’s School of Psychological Sciences’ complementary expertise will focus on the report card over the next six months.
“We will be looking from September this year to engage with 7000 Australians affected by complex mental health issues to understand how stigma and discrimination affects their lives,” Dr Blanchard explains.
University of Melbourne’s School of Psychological Sciences says the partnership is a ‘powerful demonstration of what two organisations can achieve by working together with the goal of improving the lives of Australians affected by complex mental health issues through research and translation.’
The team has employed two research fellows and is looking to offer a phD scholarship.