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Like Minds Like Mine Campaign Changing Attitudes

Media Statement
3 October 2003


People who've experienced mental illness are taking part in another advertising campaign that challenges the community to change its attitudes towards mental illness.

The Like Minds Like Mine advertising campaign is the third for the long-running Ministry of Health initiative, and builds on the success of earlier ads that featured kiwi icons such as rugby legend John Kirwan and former Split Enz man Mike Chunn.

Like Minds Like Mine national manager Gerard Vaughan says previous campaigns have already started to make a difference.

"There is a growing awareness of the importance of including people with experience of mental illness and not judging based on stereotypes. The general public is also much more comfortable talking about mental illness, and want to know more," he says.

The three new ads feature three different people, seen through the eyes and words of their parents, partners, children, siblings, mates, neighbours, bosses and workmates. Lana, Les and Rachael are 'everyday' people compared to the previous 'well-known' faces - and all have experienced a mental illness that has had a significant impact on their lives.

"The three people taking part are involved in telling their own real stories, and show that they do contribute to the community in a positive way." says Mr Vaughan.

"This time the campaign challenges the community to get to know people who have experienced a mental illness, before they judge them."

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One in five people in this country experience mental illness, like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression, and the stories of ordinary New Zealanders remind everyone that while living with a mental illness impacts on their lives, they can still be a great mum or dad, a loyal friend, a good flatmate or a loving partner

The Health Minister, Annette King, has paid tribute to the three people who have agreed to open up for the campaign.

"Rachael, Les and Lana have set a brave example by sharing their own stories and experiences," she says. "Their families and friends should also be congratulated for being involved."

"And I also want to thank people who have experience of mental illness, who have not only shared their expertise and knowledge, but who have shown great faith in supporting the campaign."

Gerard Vaughan says Like Minds Like Mine aims to help all New Zealanders be more understanding and have greater acceptance of people with a mental illness.

"With more understanding there will be less barriers created for people," he says, "and the more people with experience of mental illness will be included in their communities."


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