Clarence Valley Independent

So much stigma around mental health

Posted on by in Letters


I write on behalf of the not-for-profit Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia to urge readers in your area who may have issues with mental health to reach out and get the very real help that is out there.

230,000 people have schizophrenia. Together with their families, a million Australians are affected by Schizophrenia. Psychosis is costing our society over $4 billion annually.

The reality is people with schizophrenia can and do recover.

It’s a myth to believe people with schizophrenia are violent. They are no more likely to be violent than anybody else. Readers should be aware that if someone is experiencing changes in mood or rapid mood changes, unusual behaviour or they are withdrawing and isolating themselves from others, this may be an early warning sign of poor mental health.

It is shameful that the average life expectancy of people with schizophrenia in Australia right now is just 54 years old. There is so much stigma around mental health. Research shows less than 50% of people with schizophrenia are getting clinical or recovery assistance.

Our message is reach out. Readers can call our free phone number on 1800 985 944 or go to That service will aim to put readers in touch with local services that may be able to assist them.

The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia passionately believes we need to talk about mental health more – and offer more support to people affected.

Tony Stevenson,

CEO – Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia.

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