PsychTalks: Breaking down stigma in mental health


Westside Performing Arts Centre
141-179 Echuca Road
Mooroopna, VIC 3629

While most of us agree that there should be no distinction in how we react to a broken arm and how we respond to people experiencing mental health issues, one of these conditions provokes instant sympathy, whilst the other can elicit judgement and fear.

The impact that stigma has on the lives of people with lived experience of mental illness is complex, and it can lead to exclusion, discrimination, poor social support, poorer subjective quality of life, and low self-esteem. Stigma discourages people from seeking help, and it can have a significant effect on treatment outcomes.

This is made even more difficult as each of our personal perceptions of mental health is influenced by where we come from, the values that we grow up with and our ‘place’ in society. So, what can we do as a vastly diverse community to address some of the problems that our mental health system struggles with?

Join our experts and consumers as we explore the latest in stigma research and interventions and how we can translate this research into real outcomes for our society.


Dr Christopher Groot is a Lecturer in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences. He is the Director of the School’s Mental Illness Stigma Lab, and works in partnership with SANE Australia and the Anne Deveson Research Centre as Research Lead on its flagship study - the National Stigma Report Card. He teaches in areas of clinical psychology and psychological research methods, and conducts research in areas of stigma, psychosis, suicide, and mental health service delivery.

Georgie is the CEO of Beyond Blue and is known for her decisive and personable leadership style and her track record of delivering complex reforms. She has significant experience in policy development, service delivery and change management across the community, public and private sectors.

Dr Michelle Blanchard is the Deputy CEO at SANE Australia, a national charity working to promote the wellbeing of people affected by complex mental illness. Michelle is also the founding Director of SANE’s Anne Deveson Research Centre which partners with people with mental illness and their family, friends and colleagues to drive policy and social change.

Alan grew up with a background in AFL and was one of the original Marngrook Footy Show broadcasters on 3CR in Melbourne. He now facilitates the Dardi Munwurro Strong Spirit Men's Behaviour and Healing Program in Victoria. Strong Spirit opens a space for men to heal so they can free themselves of past trauma and stop the patterns of violence in their family.

Abdullah was born to Hazaras, an ethnic group native to the region of Hazarajat in central Afghanistan. Abdullah fled Afghanistan as a young man, and found he had an affinity for helping other Asylum Seekers with their mental health. Abdullah is currently working on a mental health initiative that aims to start a conversation around mental health within the town's Afghan community and is a Community Development Officer for the Ethnic Council of Shepparton.

Thanks to our event partners the Department of Rural Health and SANE Australia.