In partnership with SANE Australia, Everymind is pleased to announce launch of the national #StigmaPledge campaign today at Parliament House in Canberra.
In lead up to the 2019 Federal Election, the campaign is calling on all members of Parliament, candidates and political journalists to sign a #StigmaPledge and agree to avoid using stigmatising language in their communication.
The #StigmaPledge is an agreement to use, reflect, and display a standard of speech that adheres to Everymind’s Mindframe guidelines, which includes avoiding the use of stereotypes, myths and stigmatising language associated with mental ill-health and suicide.
Everymind Acting Director, Marc Bryant said it was important for members of Parliament to lead by example in showing how everyone can play a role in reducing the proliferation of stigma.
“It is essential to recognise that whether you are a journalist, colleague, customer, manager or politician describing the opposition or another party member, the language you use matters,” Mr Bryant said.
“Everymind is proud to be working closely with SANE Australia on this important campaign.
“It is great to see representation from the lived experience community as well as the media and government at the launch today showing their support for this important anti-stigma campaign.
“Most importantly, I am looking forward to seeing a 2019 Federal Election which reflects safe, inclusive and stigma-free discussion.”
Developed by Everymind and SANE Australia, the #StigmaPledge campaign has been driven by increasing concerns across the mental health and suicide prevention sectors about the use of unsafe and stigmatising language in political discourse.
The use of negative and unsafe descriptive phrases such as ‘political suicide’, ‘suicide economy’, ‘crazy decision’, ‘political madness’ and ‘psychotic pollies’, among others can have a profound impact on those living with mental ill-health.
Consequently, this stigmatising language can also inadvertently contribute to self-stigma and discourage people from seeking help when they need it most.
Everymind and SANE Australia have been working together to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues since 2002.
Everymind’s Mindframe program supports safe media reporting, portrayal and communication about suicide, mental ill-health, alcohol and other drugs.
Mindframe’s work and guidelines inform the SANE StigmaWatch initiative, which ensures media outlets report on mental health issues and suicide safely and accurately in order to reduce stigma, improve community awareness and minimise harm.