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Multi agency plan to reduce discrimination

November 28, 2005

Multi agency plan to reduce discrimination associated with mental illness

Four agencies working for reduced discrimination associated with mental illness have joined forces to develop a plan for a combined approach to the issue.

The plan, developed by the Mental Health Commission, the Like Minds Like Mine project of the Ministry of Health, the Office for Disability Issues and the Human Rights Commission, was launched at a function in Wellington today.

The Multi-Agency Plan to Reduce Discrimination Against People with Mental Illness lays out what agencies can do to contribute to “the development of a country where people with experience of mental illness can live in recovery, supported in health and in illness, participating fully in life as valued members of our communities”.

The need for improved planning and co-operation in reducing discrimination associated with mental illness was identified in the Mental Health Commission’s report Journeys Towards Equality: Taking Stock of New Zealand’s Efforts to Reduce Discrimination Against People with Experience of Mental Illness.

“Reducing discrimination associated with mental illness requires the combined effort of many people, and many organisations. This plan recognises that central government agencies have important roles and the agencies standing behind this plan each have responsibilities in different sectors,” the Chair of the Mental Health Commission, Ruth Harrison said.

"Over the last five years The Like Minds, Like Mine project has supported a very public conversation around the topic of attitudes towards mental illness. This conversation has been owned and led by a broad range of people at the grassroots and national level, through the advertising campaign combined with community education and local events.

“As a result of this work people and organisations are now asking the question, what can I do to be more supportive? This multi agency plan is about some central government organisations asking that question and coming up with what they intend to do to make a difference, the Deputy Director General, Public Health,” Dr Don Matheson said.

“By working together we will be able to better identify strengths and opportunities, overlaps and gaps for work in the future,” said Jan Scown, Director of the Office for Disability Issue.

“Over time we expect that a number of other agencies with responsibilities related to our work in this area will become partners with us in developing a more co-ordinated approach to reducing discrimination against people with experience of mental illness,” said Human Rights Commissioner Robyn Hunt.

The report is available online at www.mhc.govt.nz or for a printed version by phoning the Mental Health Commission (04) 474 8900 or PO Box 12479, Thorndon, Wellington.

ENDS

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