National survey of discrimination and positive treatment associated with mental health problems
Associate Professor Nicola Reavley
+61 3 9035 7628
Until relatively recently, the focus of most stigma research was through surveys comprising questions about attitudes towards people with mental health problems, rather than actual experiences. In 2014, we conducted a telephone survey of 5,000 Australians aged over 18 years. The survey asked participants a series of questions about their own mental health and their experience of discrimination and support from others related to mental health problems. Participants described these experiences from their friends, family, and the broader community; and in workplace, education, and healthcare settings. In most domains, respondents reported more positive treatment experiences than avoidance or discrimination. Friends and family were more likely to avoid the person than to discriminate.
In 2017, we re-contacted participants who agreed to this to again assess the longer-term implications of experiences of discrimination and support associated with mental health problems. The follow-up survey also asked participants the same questions on mental health and recent discrimination as well as assessing impacts on quality of life, workforce participation, and health service use.