An open letter to the ABC.
by people with lived experience, consumers and survivors of the mental health system.
Read our open letter below.
If you support our message and calls for action, please show your support by adding your signature and an optional message.
Read our new signatures & messages of support at the end of this page.
We are compelled to write to you about your recent Four Corners TV episode, “Please don’t judge us”.
This letter is written by people with lived experience, consumers and/or survivors of the mental health system. You may not be aware of us, since not one of us was interviewed in your program. It was as though you thought that we are not quite human, that we cannot speak for ourselves.
We can see that you wanted to produce an episode which bravely tackled issues in the mental health system. We suspect you wanted to make an important societal contribution to people and families who need help. There is no doubt that mental and emotional distress affects everyone, and that carers and families can live through very difficult times as they try to find a way to help for their family member.
But we need you to know that you have failed. Badly.
Your story has caused harm, grief and sadness. You have just made stigma and discrimination worse for thousands of Australians like us. You have stolen and silenced our voice. And you have promoted psychiatric practices and a system in which many people experience institutional violence, abuse, and inhumane treatment (see below in item 3).
So, we’d like you to know why you got it wrong. Then we ask you to take action to make up for the damage that you have wrought, and to be true to:
From our perspective, you made three grave errors.
1. We are overwhelmingly not violent – more commonly we are victims of violence and trauma. Yet you reinforced sensationalist stereotypes that we are dangerous, scary people.
Your production positioned us as people to be feared. As demonised, violent, dangerous, unpredictable ‘others’. This is a clear stereotype. We only account for 4-5% of violent crime in Australia, and even then, this is often not due to mental illness, but factors common to violence committed by anyone.
Your focus on violence was reminiscent of media coverage which vilifies other classes of people. Like media that blames violence on so-called ‘African gangs’. Or media that blames Muslim people for terrorism. Another ABC story critiqued this kind of blaming, “lazy shorthand” in media reporting on “African gangs”. For us, too, this “lazy shorthand” does nothing but promote fear and hate, while avoiding the uncomfortable truth about violence: it is complicated, and it is not the fault of any particular group of people.
The sad truth about violence and mental distress is the opposite of what you proposed. While very few of us are violent, a great majority of us, 80% or more, have been victims of violence. That’s often why we end up in distress and crisis. Violence is far more often a cause of mental health problems, not a consequence of them.
2. It is unacceptable to produce stories about us, that exclude our voice.
You would not produce a story on women that only interviewed men. You would not produce a story on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people without interviewing them. Well, we certainly hope not. So why on earth would you produce a story about us, that only interviewed carers, families and psychiatrists?
Perhaps you don’t know that we are capable of speaking for ourselves, and that many of us work as active agents of change throughout the mental health system and society. As academics, peer workers, advocates, policy advisers and educators. We have peak bodies in most states. We are also parents, artists, writers, and sometimes even quite ordinary, boring people. Some of us even work for the ABC!
Perhaps you do not know that many of us experience recovery and healing. Even those of us diagnosed with ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘psychosis’. Perhaps you may be surprised to hear that many of us even recover and heal without psychiatry and medication.
It is important that carers and families have a voice to talk about their own needs and issues. But they cannot, and do not, speak for us – they speak for themselves. A properly critical investigative story would have understood and appreciated these different vantage points.
3. More hospital beds and medication are NOT what we want or need.
It is no surprise when psychiatrists call for more funding. Every industry group does that. It is no surprise that carers and families call for us to be hospitalised and medicated, because they are scared for us and they don’t know what else to do.
But we’ve lived through hospitals and medication. What’s more, we’ve lived through recovery and healing, so we know what works. Sure, hospitals and medication are helpful for some of us. But for a great many, psychiatric medications are ineffective and the evidence shows that they can be seriously harmful and impact mortality. There is no simple or magic fix here.
Psychiatric hospitals are places where many of us experience profound institutional violence and human rights violations; think youth detention centres, or mandatory detention of asylum seekers. Robust professional journalistic investigation, with ‘balance and perspective’, would have unearthed this very quickly.
We agree that changes are desperately needed in how we respond to mental and emotional distress, but it is simplistic and dangerous to assume this means more beds and more meds. The changes needed are complex, and we have lots of ideas about them – but they must be grounded in human rights, choice, and our voices.
We want an acknowledgement, apology, and an opportunity to be heard
Your TV episode has done serious harm to us as individuals, and as a community of people who experience the mental health system. Too often, we lose friends and family who are frightened by reporting like yours. And yet there are claims for more inclusion. Sadly your reporting was divisive.
Now, we risk losing even more human connection, face more discrimination, and perhaps we are even be more likely to be detained and forcibly medicated against our will. In terms of harm done, plenty; in terms of good done, it is hard to see any potentially helpful outcomes from your story.
This undermines our human rights and our humanity, and it demands redress.
We call on you to:
We want you to understand that, as a class of people, we face profound levels of discrimination, hate, violence and silencing of our voice – and you have contributed to this.
We know that Four Corners and the ABC can do, and has done, outstandingly ethical investigative reporting, despite the failures of this episode. We need you, as our national broadcaster, to be our allies for change, not part of what hurts and excludes us.
We, the undersigned, are all people with a lived experience, consumers and/or survivors of the mental health system.
Paula Arro, Chair, Brisbane North Peer Participation in Mental Health Services Network
Indigo Daya, Survivor academic, activist and consultant
Flick Grey, Lived experience workforce trainer, supervisor & consultant
Fay Jackson, General Manager, Inclusion
Phoebe Kingston, Consumer Activist
Ailsa Rayner, BPsych
As allies and supporters of mental health consumers/survivors, we offer our support and endorsement to this open letter:
Associate Professor Susan Ainsworth
John Bamborough, General Manager Supported Independent Living Victoria, Mind Australia
Scientia Professor Jill Bennett, ARC Laureate Fellow, UNSW
Assoc Prof Bridget Hamilton, Director, Centre for Psychiatric Nursing
Professor Jon Jureidini, Critical & Ethical Mental Health Research Group, University of Adelaide
Professor Renata Kokanovic, Social and Global Studies Centre, RMIT University
Kerry Hawkins, Commissioner and President, WA Association for Mental Health
Dr Diana Johns, University of Melbourne
Dr Claire Loughnan, University of Melbourne
Dr Chris Maylea, RMIT
Dr Melissa Raven, University of Adelaide
Dr Kath Sellick, University of Melbourne
Dr Linda Steele, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney
CEO, National Empowerment Center;
Person with lived experience of recovery from schizophrenia.
Stop the stigmatizing practice of incorrectly linking violence and mental health conditions, apologize for making this connection, include us in productions in the future, and produce shows highlighting the contributions all we persons with lived experience have made as depicted on our website, www.power2U.org
I have been stigmatised for being a survivor of quite horrific abuse.
We don’t need more judgement, I remember telling one psychiatrist whilst on medication that I couldn’t think any more. His response to me, (I had been doing uni) was what do you need to think for? It was debasing and humiliating.
The mental health system in Australia needs a massive overhaul, not more stigmatisation, ignorance and abuse. More trauma based therapists and help is desperately needed.
It's time to stop being scared of letting real patients speak. We know what the system needs and your refusal to engage us in the conversation says more about you than us. Stop taking the easy angle and listen to the real experts on mental health.
Interview people who've been in public wards. That's where the truth of this system hides.
It's time to listen to the stories.
I attained Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours), Recipient of (Newcastle) University Medal and Jessie Reid Dyce Prize for contribution to theatre in the community. At various times in my 60 years I have been a participant in programs at Footscray Psychiatric Centre and Newcastle James Fletcher Hospital. I still occasionally have difficult times but I am medication free for almost 20 years. I am a loving husband and father. I am currently retraining in Disability Support / Care. I choose non violent resolution to issues but like most people have, when attacked, responded assertively to physical violence against me.
Much love, many frogs and truckloads of ZAZZ. mac
ABC - please screen another program which gives lived experience a voice. Please speak with people who are signatories to this letter.
I hate the medical model system in Australia, losing over 20 years of my life due to medication induced illness. Not being able to work properly, for something pretty normal for any human being to feel, given certain upbringings. When one-sided discussions are aired on TV pretending to be open, knowledgeable and understanding end up causing stigma and anger from people that are sick of hearing things like this. It doesn't do any good and people (the ones that have lived it and lucky enough to know better) will remember the disgusting remarks on the ABC. You have lost my interest, shame on you. Why don't you start having some honesty and shifting blame onto the system, medication side effects caused violence etc... a bit of the truth might be nice for a change, have some heart.
“A person is an entity of the sort to which the only proper and adequate way to respond is love.” - Karol Wojtyła
You’re usually on the ball, but - to mix metaphors slightly - you dropped it here.
What you’ve done hurts and, unfortunately, is likely to hurt more. You can still make positive impacts for people like us: please do.
Please begin again to treat us - people! - like people.
Start by a sincere apology and firm purpose of amendment. Then start listening.
There are so many of us who can and do speak; so many of us who have additional expertise; so many of us who are willing to assist you in making this right.
Become, again, who you are: our ABC.
“Love is actively desiring the good of the other and then doing something about it.” - Robert Emmet Barron
As someone who struggles with mental health I support this letter
And to ABC
we are human too and things need to change and as an influencer with a huge audience you should be using that gift to help people and not harm them, that includes us.
please right your wrong if you have any heart in you at all
Please listen to our voices
I’ve lived in the Shadow’s and the stigma of mental illness for 75years and I’m only just 75yrs. Being born into a family where a mother had experienced early trauma in her life she developed depression at boarding school then called mental illness and in the 1940’s given shock treatment in her 30’s she had it throughout her pregnancy and after I was born lost her memory for two years at some stage. The stigma we endured by the family and others was traumatic. I endure abuse and violence - no not of my mother - and landed up in the same position as my mother. The stigma and discrimination I’ve endured and still do from family members and others can never be repaired. My only solis is in Art, poetry and hope that one day the media will not portray us as murders and violent because as with nearly all people I’ve met in mental health services the violence has been perpetrated on us. The ABC Four Corners portrayal of people who have mental illness is far from the truth and must be retold in the Voice of the people who experience mental illness and trauma. If this does not happen I’m afraid we are taking a step back in time where people will be afraid to disclose or seek treatment. Ita I’m asking you to see your way to hear these concerns that are voiced here.
The precious wisdom of lived experience, and the very real capacity of people experiencing personal recovery are messages that need to be heard. People need hope. Recovery is real.
As a survivor of suicide, a person with lived experience of mental illness and an advocate for others who struggle to navigate the systems that are meant to help them, I find it offensive that The ABC program portrays those who suffer mental illness, as dangerous to others.
The stigma around mental illness is already a huge barrier preventing vulnerable, at risk people, from seeking help. I encourage and implore you to be part of the positive change, and to help us to educate communities appropriately.
The Australian Government has funded the Mindframe Media Guidelines to inform reporting on mental ill health for a reason - to prevent stigmatising, ill-informed pieces like this from making it into print & broadcast media. Four Corners would do well to consult them next time (here: https://mindframe.org.au/mental-health/communicating-about-mental-ill-health/mindframe-guidelines/communicating-about-mental-ill-health), & issuing an apology & correction for broadcasting this flawed piece, & the accompanying episode of the ABC Podcast, the Signal. I will be reporting both to sane.org's #StigmaWatch, due to it fitting the criteria for submission, shown here: https://www.sane.org/services/stigmawatch/stigmawatch-criteria.
Please Don’t Speak For Me
As a person with lived and living experience of emotional and mental suffering I fully agree with and support this campaign. Most of us identify as having survived awful traumas in the past that continue to wreak havoc on our identities. Representations of us in media representations, such as aired by the Four Corners episode, add a further layer trauma and profound distress. This catalyses an unremitting cycle of further harms to identity and exposure to systemic and social stigma and abuse.
The ABC has been peddling false messages about us for too long and it is well passed time to wise up and make amends.
It is infuriating how the ABC has portrayed this human rights issue. As someone who has been mistreated, with forced and coerced "treatment", by the Australian Mental Health System, I strongly support this open letter. I was stripped of my own individuality and lost my basic human rights - all in the name of "care". Only now am I starting to fix all the harm that has been done to me by this "mental health system"! I will always have in the back of my mind a rational fear that I am not always 100% safe and away from their harm. I fear that if I even slip up one tiny bit, the "mental health team" will come charging back to force harmful "treatment" upon me once again. I should not have to live my life in fear because of these labels of "Mental illness" that will forever be in my health records.
Being spoken about, not to, is one of the worst aspects of my mental illness.
It reminds me of horrible things in my past.
I may be mentally ill but I am still a human person.
I am worthy of love.
I am worthy of the basic respect of not having my humanity diminished.
4Corners must correct this betrayal.
I stand together with all my beloved brothers and sisters with mental illness and I demand your apology and correction.
As a survivor of childhood trauma, I have experienced clinical inpatient treatment including ECT.
This treatment ultimately did more harm than good. Connection through Peers and and understanding my own role in recovery has me now living a full productive life free of anti psychotic medication.
Please, ABC, please don’t silence or marginalise people who are so often silenced and marginalised.
I hope the ABC can appreciate the value of lived experience to tell our own stories.
As a carer of a veteran with PTSD, a person with a lived experience of GAD, a mental health practitioner and a support worker for many years, I can attest to the negative imagery that the media depicts of people with a lived experience of mental ill-health in our community. PLEASE STOP painting people as violent, disturbed, crazy, mad, or un-hinged humans. They are humans first, and are often those who have given up their own freedom (and well-being) to protect the very lives of those that have discriminated against us! Shame shame shame.
Don't Judge Us?
This piece named and shamed us.
I understand it's a difficult topic to talk about, but all this narrative does is perpetuate the stigma we face. It promotes fear from the public that we, as individuals with lived experience of mental ill health, are dangerous.
Why wasn't this brought to someone with lived experience? Why weren't we asked to share our side of the story?
Like the spider to the man, we are more afraid of you than you are of us, and we are harmed by stories like this, every single day.
Institutionalization & fear mongering are NOT the answer.
As this letter states, ABC you got it horribly wrong with your program 'Please Don't Judge' because you did judge us, and only a small minority of us, thereby stigmatising all of us in a sensationalist way. Your counterparts at SBS produced an Insight program recently called 'Hearing Voices', where consumer, carer and clinical voices were all heard in a respectful and intelligent way. You could do worse than learning a thing or two from SBS' approach.
Your program made me relive some of the trauma I experienced as a 'consumer' within the mental health system, which did me and another of my family members, so much more harm than good. Supporting people experiencing mental health distress should never include locking people up against their will, whatever they may have done. I personally have cared for friends in my own home who have been 'psychotic' while hearing distressing voices; never once did I feel afraid of them. You have wronged people like them, and all of us who have experienced mental distress; you must address this promptly and effectively by letting our voices be heard.
I did write to them and asked them if they could just do a show about the people being harmed- i know some people feel helped- but their all we've ever heard from on any tv show since forever- never ever have we had a show dedicated to the "harmed community" and their story- always the happy and the MH authority itself- and the leader psychiatrists- about them- for them- not us and our people- one half of the equations always left out- silenced really- when theirs clearly two people in the equation-- so yeh time for- our turn, but will they give us, our turn, anyway that's what it's always going to come down to- two people- two voices- the helped peoples voice- and the harmed peoples voice- and media should be being independently fair-- real about that, unlike MH and Psychiatry or Govt, who isn't being fair- and silencing us, or not letting us speak- or if we do, not answering us, and theirs nothing right- or fair about that, not in a fair world theirs not.
It is time to change and reduce mental health stigma. This can only happen if lived experience is central to discussions of mental health need and service and support provision.
Silencing consumers/survivors is an insidious yet brutal form of violence and on this point, the ABC should never again exclude us from any story about us. Moreover, the ABC should talk with VMIAC, Being and other consumer/survivor representative organisations, to learn how to get past perpetuating toxic, and false stereotypes that cruelly malign all people with psychosocial disability.
Simply put ABC this is just not acceptable as well as being dangerous. That it made it to air is beyond belief - especially given the dialogue around mental health. That no one in your organisation could see that it would be distressing to so many is staggering. So much for your "fact checking" - can't even be bothered to get a consumer viewpoint or input! Shame on you...
Appalling journalism and the lack of critical awareness in addition to the apparent ignorance regarding the systemic problems associated with the mental health and disability sectors beggars belief.
How can anyone discuss mental health and its systems and not talk about those with lived experience of both? This is so harmful and so wrong. I am deeply saddened that once again harms are being perpetrated against those who have suffered the most.
We need to address all view points where concerning mental illness. Medication is only a part of recovery. We need more Community Mental Health Services that are accessible to everyone. Not only on NDIS as many are not able to access this.
As a consumer/survivor its obvious that this unbalanced propaganda makes it more difficult for people to get the treatment they need. The truth is people who are vulnerable and traumatised are retraumatised by the mental health system. No wonder people become worse! Just when the mental health system has been showing signs of improvement you are encouraging it to actually go backwards.
it was shoddy journalism. plain and simple. (also, locking your adult child in a room is imprisonment. )
and likely to lead to more stigma, more people hiding symptoms, and less support.
Talk to us face to face.
Hear our voices.
Thanks Indi, and everyone involved. That letter is brilliant.
Thanks to all of you. This letter comprehensively includes a great many intellectual and emotional responses I hadn't fully realised. As a consumer, I'm grateful.
I was appalled, deeply hurt and saddened by the story. As both Carer and consumer I was troubled by the presentation of stories that depicted carers as helpless victims of their family members who are powerless and without voice or choice. I was also devastated by the stories of these individuals who did these harmful things. I wondered why there was no discussion about what was the problem in the system. Lack of beds is only a symptom of much bigger issues. No investigation of possible solutions to the problem other than beds and mids. There is no hope in the story and that is not my experience as a consumer who has recovered and who now works with Carers and other consumers to help them recover their lives and bring systemic changes. This story failed to acknowledge the majority of consumers and sensationalised the minority. It failed me and people like me.
Make amends by telling our stories.
Interpersonal violence is a tragedy whenever it happens. Yet the violence perpetrated by forced psychiatric interventions - which the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture recently acknowledged 'may well amount to torture' - remains in the blind spot of the psychiatric profession and those who promote forced psychiatry as the solution for people experiencing personal crisis. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which Australia is a state party, prohibits forced psychiatry and supports the development of non-medical, non-coercive crisis support as well as violence prevention and accountability measures (restorative justice) that are disability sensitive and do not amount to compulsory treatment. The CRPD drew extensively on the expertise of people with lived experience of psychiatric violence and of intense distress and unusual states of consciousness, such as myself. The ABC should listen to the people who are the most marginalized in the situation it aims to address, and contribute to turning around centuries of exclusion by mainstream society and states.
Sadly I was not surprised at the singularly stigmatising and deluded views expressed by the recent 4 Corners episode. I say deluded from the perspective that evidence in drawn from experience and/or experiment, neither current lived experience or any contemporary experiments with recovery in mind were apparent in the program, only sedimented bias and judgement, sad really
I have lived experience of mental health issues, I’ve been a peer worker in the past and I’m now a social worker and on every level this is wrong. The last thing we need is more stigma and to be spoken for.
Surely we’ve moved beyond demonising people with mental health challenges by now. I’ve worked in the “system” for 41 years, not because I like it but because every day I go to work hoping to support someone who is struggling with the iatrogenic nature of hospitals. Just because we’re told they’re all we have doesn’t mean we should stop dreaming of and planning for better.
Sad stories, appalling journalism. Yes there are a lot of problems and shortcomings within the mental health system, but you failed to mention any of them. Please listen to the consumer.
Listen and Learn
So disappointing to see this lapse in the ABC's usually high journalistic standards. It's critical that you now produce a substantial program which addresses the myths promulgated in the 4 Corners story, snd gives voice to people with lived experience of the mental health system.
I understand the earnest motives of the creators of the Four Corners program 'Do not judge', but I was horrified by the exclusion of our voices in a program ostensibly about us. I have been abused and traumatised both outside and inside the mental health 'care' system that, with extra funding but not our input, is somehow meant to address the Four Corners program's focus.
I 'm so disappointed in the ABC and so impressed with this open letter. The ABC must respond to this!
Medications and hospitalization do not magically mend mental health challenges and in many instances do more harm than good.
I have been trying for 4 years to get treatment for PTSD.
Meds don't work.
Hospitals remove my prime source of relaxation - walking my dogs.
In 4 years I have lost the ability to use public transport, watch tv, listen to the radio, talk on the telephone and speak without stuttering to authority figures.
I also can't shop in crowded or noisy shops.
4 years I've been asking for help.
4 years and I'm still asking
Centre our voices. Let us tell our own stories. Give people with psychosocial disability the choice and control to do this. Mental health is not a job that we get a break from - although many of us are recognised experts and clinicians ourselves, in spite of the systematic barriers we experience. We deserve to be recognised as the primary experts of our own lives, not just as passive care recipients.
What a disappointing misrepresentation of a group people who are at more risk of violence than perpetrating it. We are sick and tired of people speaking for us. We have capacity and can speak and direct the car we need. More hospitals is not the answer. Connection and purpose are
Please apologise ABC, this is damaging to people like me.
As an ally, I strongly support the views in this letter. I recommend that you, ABC, take immediate action to publicize the views of consumers and survivors of the mental health system.
This was hurtful and undermining of the progress seen in this field. The ABC should have consulted lived experience experts before producing such a damaging story.
As a mother of a wonderful kind young man who just happens to be labelled with schizophrenia, I’m extremely appalled at the way the media portray people experiencing trauma & only tell part of the story.
No mention of the medication actually causing homicide & suicide, agitation from side affect called Akathisia, no mention of more compassionate treatments which would be more cost affective in the long run, no mention of why people stop medication, I can tell you it isn’t because they feel better, totally the opposite actually, my son had told his psychiatrist he had chest pain after a depot injection & was ignored, my son was kept on that injection for 3 months with severe akathisia! He said to me Mum they are killing me.
It is hugely damaging to portray those who suffer from mental illness as people to be feared when the vast majority pose no threat to anyone other than perhaps themselves. Psychiatric practices and treatments are often extremely damaging and make things worse for the patient. More of this is not needed. Considerable change is needed, fewer drugs, more compassion, kindness and understanding is paramount.
As a person with lived experience of metal health in the USA, it's disheartening to hear yet another story that includes everyone but the people who have the experiences. Please reconsider & do justice to the people you're supposedly trying to help. Thank you to these wonderful people advocating for our voices to be heard.
I watched the 4 corners program; please don’t judge with a mixture of dismay and disgust, that was unfortunately reinforced by my previous experience of attitudes and cliches in the media, surrounding mental ill health and the mentally ill in particular. We are often portrayed in the media as being violent or dangerous, not adaptive and insightful, or creative, which might not make as good a story, as the sensational and horrific stories, that were told in the program. The facts tell us that we are more likely to be the victim, not the perpetrator of people’s violent rage. The viewer of the 4 corners program was in no doubt left in fear of people with mental illness who were seen as being highly unpredictable and lacking any insight, or reason, for their egregious crimes. What a perfect opportunity to practice social outrage and castigation, of a people who can’t fight back, and have no voice, or say in matters, that are of importance to them
The climb back to public acceptance has been a difficult one for me. I was once a school Principal and hence, a leader in my community. When the negative downward spin of bipolar disorder destroyed all that, I was shunned by people who knew me, doubted by family and ignored by all but a few friends. In my role as a Community Presenter for the Black Dog Institute, it was a story that was replicated in the comments and tears of people I spoke with. I have long been a supporter of the ABC but of late, the perceived need to compete with commercial stations by adopting their "shock and awe" tactics in news reporting and background briefing, has left me despondent. This particular program has caused hurt, both personally and in a community which suffers enough without having stereotypes unfairly reinforced and conclusions reached which were non-inclusive.
This program was shocking on every level. It showed a flagrant igorance of trauma-induced suffering most people with psychological diversity have to live with every day. Most mental health issues are caused by childhood trauma, usually rape, and this is the elephant in the room which needs to be examined and purged from our society. Demonising those who are innocent of wrongdoing, yet have to deal with the consequences of being the victims of those who are not, is beyond 'disturbing', it's disgusting.
As someone with lived experience as a consumer and carer I am disgusted at the bias and stigma portrayed on this show. We have a voice and we shall prevail...
I have lived experience of mental health issues, I’ve been a peer worker in the past and I’m now a social worker and on every level this is wrong. The last thing we need is more stigma and to be spoken for.
As I watched the 4Corners episode called "Please don’t judge us" I felt distressed and devastated. It was like having the wind knocked out of me. It not only lacked nuance and balance, it was extremely stigmatizing and sensationalist.
I found the reporting to be intensely triggering given my own history of complex trauma including childhood abuse and family violence. Most of us who experience emotional distress have a trauma background. We are not perpetrators of violence, we are more often than not, survivors of violence. We don't need more hospital beds and medication, which often doesn't help and causes more trauma and harm. Instead we need trauma informed care and access to therapy in the community.
None of the violent male offenders that have abused me have a mental illness and yet I'm living with the consequences of that violence. I am the one with a so-called mental illness because of the emotional distress I experience, due to significant trauma. I do not appreciate the ABC conflating male violence with mental illness, when so many of us are survivors of violence who would never dream of hurting another soul. You erased our voices and made us invisible. How dare you. #pleasedontABC
I endorse this open letter to the ABC and I am immensely grateful to all involved in the creation. Thank you.
Ally and supporter - thank you!!!
Please apologise abc this is dreadful
This is appalling journalism. Please act on the requests in the open letter.
I fully support all that has been outlined in the submitted letter. Our voices need to be heard. Speak to us, not about us. Don't make assumptions, ask. Don't add to the stigmas we fight daily. Don't take away our dignity with falsehoods, our positive contribution to society, our love and compassion for others, no matter what their ailment. Give back our voice. Recognize, accept, apologise and educate others to see the facts, not sensationalised fiction. You owe us, as a stigmatised group of individuals which YOU chose to focus your report on, the above at very least.
A person who is suffering extreme distress and/or has difficulty communicating with others has the right to be regarded as a human being needing help not a damaging diagnosis that is neither scientific nor helpful.
Please address the great distress caused by “PleaseDon’tJudge” with a formal public apology, A specific targeted investigative program, or a series of programs, especially with the Victorian Royal Commission Into mental health recommendations already commencing by Mental Health Reform Victoria (MHRV) that includes those of us managing, living life with a mental illness would be an appropriate way forward. Acknowledging the pain and trauma, and walking alongside us, listening and letting your audience hear our voices would be provide insights that are still to rarely heard. This would enable these voices to share our reality.
Copyright © 2020 An open letter to ABC