Current research shows that perspectives from those with lived experience are needed at every step of the way to encourage new thinking. Please read my book, Why Talk About Madness? 2020.
I have lived experience with mental illness, & proof of recovery. But it wasn't without major challenges, it was the private system that helped me push through. (For which I am greatful for & have family that were able to pay for private health insurance.)
Although starting out in the public system nearly killed me. The whole system needs to be looked at closely, & people with lived experience need to be interviewed & spoken to. We are not violent people, quite often we are the victims of violence, &/or people taking advantage of us in times when we need the most support. I support this open letter, as the ABC should know better. As many people have trust & faith in the ABC's usual methods of reporting. This programme however, has cast doubt & quite frankly the ABC should be ashamed of themselves.
Running a holiday sale or weekly special? Definitely promote it here to get customers excited about getting a sweet deal.
I support the Open Letter. After all the gains activists have made over decades, this is not the time for invisibility, for being left out, for not being heard.
The most hopeful initiatives in relation to mental health both here in Australia and overseas are being led by peer workers, consumers/survivors. I think it'd be great if you could take up the invitation to create a show about this!
I was shocked at the lack of balance in this story. I organised campaigns to block ABC budget cuts and still believe the ABC is our best source of news in Australia but my community had been betrayed by this program. I am angered and agotayed but will direct that energy into fighting systems, not people. Shame on you ABC for shaming us unfairly.
I am committed to being part of creating a paradigm shift in how Mental Health Services are delivered.
People in the mental health consumer movement are not only working hard to advocate for and help build better mental health services but are also striving to help create a better and fairer society. -- Allan Pinches.
You're missing the mark quite marginally if you're not consulting those of us with lived experience. Imagine not consulting a main witness for crucial information! Without it, all other input becomes harmful and misguided.
People with Disability Australia fully endorses this open letter, and urges all mainstream media to prioritise the voices of consumer/survivor advocates in any reporting on Australia's mental health system.
People with lived experience of psychosocial disability are routinely maligned and demonised in the media, and the resulting stigma does nothing for the wellbeing of an already marginalised group in our community. Enough is enough.
Positive change will only happen when the voices of those with lived experience are not only included, but centred. Nothing about us without us.
I work in Indigenous communities and its best practice to consult with all stakeholders when exploring issues relating to the well being of Indigenous people. This includes individuals , representative peak body organisations and service providers. I would expect that Four Corners would use a more sophisticated approach to its exploration of issues relating to mental health issues.
Let’s do the deep listening to those of us who live with the experiences of the mental health system.
As someone who lives with CPTSD as a direct result of violent and sexual abuse from an infant .I find this report not only alarming but degrading . After 10 years of psychotherapy and eventually succumbing to the fact that for me personally medication was part of my ongoing treatment ABC has portrayed myself and others as a risk to people within society .
We are not the problem but the direct result of an outdated practise in the care and treatment of people living with mental illness.
Trauma informed care and trauma informed practices and services is where we as a society need to be looking towards. The therapeutic values of peer work which is my role is a proven practise that involves those with lived experience in supporting others into recovery and forward in their own mental health journeys .
I will live with the direct results of trauma that was unrecognised and misunderstood for the rest of my life my mental health will be effected for life .However unlike your episode on 4 Corners my story is not one of someone to fear and isolate ,derogate and remove personal responsibility from but to acknowledge and support .To encourage and help break down the barriers and stigma that misinformed and uneducated ideas within society around those with lived experience endure daily .
We will not be silenced or forgotten .
Tie to change the attitudes of clinical services and practices from How can we fix you ? (them)
What happened to you ?
Not one participant I have walked with in my role as a peer worker has a story that does not involve trauma both prior to mental illness "diagnoses "but most alarmingly with the treatment facilities and practices of so called treatment .
Nothing about us without us .
After a long time away from community support work (youth worker) I decided I missed it and wanted to rejoin the sector. Mental Health and the support for those dealing with this was where I wanted to work, I now am.
After watching this episode of 4 Corners my initial reaction was this is not to bad. Then after speaking with others in the sector and reading this letter that pointed out the wrong ABC had done as well as the hurt. I realised I have a lot to learn and how underrepresented or misrepresented people dealing with mental health are in the media, and not given the opportunity to voice their views & opinions.
Now is the time for the ABC to not only apologise but do a follow up story and actually include the people you mis represented in the first time place.
Parts of this segment were not helpful. They exacerbated the stigma attached to mental health concerns which were counterproductive for one’s well being within themselves and in their community. Please consider the suggestions presented in this letter.
Public Health Advocate | Volunteer | Organiser | Veteran
Nothing about us, without us, is for us.
We need to ensure the community view of persons living with experience is ALWAYS included...
I totally support all that has been said in the open letter to the ABC. shame on you for not asking the experts, people living with mental illness, their views and the every day hurdles they face to live their lives with dignity and courage. have the courage to correct your monumental mistake. you can't take back what you have done but you can make amends. indeed it is mandatory!
Within the first 5 minutes of watching this so-called journalism, it was painfully obvious to me (and unfortunately to most Australians) where the ABC was headed. To imply that anyone that suffers from a mental health condition is violent is stereotypical, divisive and dangerous, and just simply wrong and unethical. In a world suffering from the death and devastation of a pandemic that's wrecking havoc without bias, this single episode has used bias to divide, frighten and destroy the positive work that's been achieved by mental health providers and advocates, and those of us living with our illness every day. It's the last thing Australia needs when we are already faced with fear, uncertainty and anxiety. It's time for you step up, take ownership, apologise and right the wrong that you've committed. Give us, the ones with the lived experience, a voice. Like any other human group on the planet, we must be heard.
After a promising start in mental health week 2014, the ABC has unfortunately failed to follow through with meaningful engagement with us.
How could the ABC make such great errors in their judgement, an apology is the least to be expected .
I have helped develop peer services, those delivered by people with lived experience of mental health issues, across a number of countries. I am also highly involved in supporting families to get support and gain greater understanding of the many options available that are not just medical models. The research evidence shows peer services provide at least equivalent, and in many cases, superior outcomes for people. Please stop listening to only a few sides of the discussion. Have those people who have lived with their own experience of mental health issues bring their thoughts to the table too. Nothing about us without us.
The media can, and does, have a huge influence on how people with mental illness are perceived.
You have a responsibility to report facts based on truth, not opinions based on bias.
By not allowing us a chance to state our position, and to have people see us as human beings, you have further perpetuated myths and stereotypes which will harm many more people than will ever be hurt by people with mental illness.
I am very disappointed in the ABC for its biased one side depiction of mental illness.
Mostly I'm disappointed the ABC allowed a program to go to air that stereotype people with mental illness. No matter how well
Intentioned it cannot be allowed to stand without telling the other side of the medical model story
The Iatrogenic medication induced disabilities, chronic disease and deaths.
The medical model can be dangerous for people with CYP450 deficiencies and /or sensitivities to chemicals and toxins.
I sign this as a carer who shares a life with a loved one who suffered Iatrogenic medication induced TBI and chronic health diseases.
As an ally I am sorry that those who already experience the harsh end of stigma have had to organise to assert the harm of this exclusion and mischaracterisation. The abc owes it to our whole community to set the record straight and ensure an opportunity for those whose experience it is, to construct the narrative. The public is entitled to that.
Brilliantly written response that summarises a complex issue very well. I work with individuals living with complex mental illness and this response mirrors a vast majority of consumer feedback and experiences.
I express my solidarity with mental health consumers in response to the recent negative coverage.
The stigma of such mis-representation as occurred recently on the ABC does great damage to people with mental health conditions and fractures wider social cohesion.
I fully endorse this letter. In my doctoral research and in my practice, I have found that those who are most vulnerable to serious mental health issues are those who have been and often continue to be vulnerable to others.
The most powerful teachers I have encountered as a mental health nurse have been mental health consumers. As a hugely stigmatised group, their courageous voices borne of experience have advocated for a more effective, humane, caring, compassionate mental health system that values lived experience. I am sad and angry that an opportunity to amplify their voices and to reduce stigma in a platform that is trusted and widely accessed was missed. In the absence of direct contact with people with lived experience, people rely on media as storytellers of our multiple worlds. What a travesty that their voices were not foregrounded. I hope that the ABC will rectify this as soon as possible and apologize for this dreadful and heartbreaking omission.
I agree with this open letter. I watched the 4Corners episode with dismay as it perpetuated the terrible myths that abound in our society about people with mental health disorders. It focused exclusively on violence while promoting enforced hospitalisation and medication as the only options for keeping the public ‘safe’ from the monstrous stereotype portrayed in this episode.
It was sad and disappointing to watch. Please do better ABC.
Listen with an open heart to the many with a lived experience of this failed mental health system.
Hope, community, nature, creativity, nutrition, nurturing support and purpose goes a long way to healing and recovery. Accountability bravery honesty and transparency from those who hold the power is what’s required now.
As Chairperson of Balance Aotearoa, a nationwide advocacy and peer support organisation and member of the Disabled Persons Organisations Coalition of New Zealand, I stand with my Australian peers in condemning your failure to include the voices of people with lived experience of mental distress, and the stigmatising approach taken in this story. Four Corners and ABC need to apologise and produce a programme that counteracts the harm done, featuring the stories of people who have suffered at the hands of the established mental health system, and their views on what needs to be done.
I found the aforementioned story to be unbalanced and only adding to the stigma faced by those with a mental illness. Why were there no people with a lived experience of mental health challenges interviewed or consulted for this story?
I hold a Bachelor of Social Science, Dip in Mental Health and Counselling and Law units pertaining to ethics, human rights and equity. After making a valid complaint against an authoritative power and after receiving an official apology , they attempted to sanction me as an involuntary patient. Before my complaint nobody questioned my sanity or where concerned about my mental health per se'. For many survivors of abuse ,mental health 'diagnosis' labels and stereotypes are sanctioned acts of violence,used by those who percieve they have a lawful right to discredit the voice of those most at risk of vulnerability and lack of legal protection. By promoting common misconceptions about mental health you inadvertantly violate my human rights and dignity.
Please listen and tell the true stories of the survivors of the mental health system. Our voices are important and need to be heard to save lives.
People with lived experience hold valuable knowledge and experience not readily available in the current system of things. There is a certain 'knowing', gained from adversity, that once shared, holds significant therapeutic exchange. Suddenly the unspeakable requires little mention, hope is generated and a pathway forward is found. This path is paved with profound subtleties, social connectedness, self-empowerment and is free from blame and shame.
I hoped I would see the end of this stereotyping in my lifetime, 70 years, but the fight goes on. Shame ABC, shame.
Please don't villify innocent people who have been the victims of horrific violence and whose minds have shattered and fragmented under the pressure of long-subdued terror. ABC is guilty of gross negligence and discriminatory reporting. People suffering mental and emotional distress are wounded, grieving, terrified, despairing, alone and rejected. How have you helped? How do you differ from antiquity where broken hearts and shattered minds were locked away in filthy cells and abandoned by the world because we were unable to express the terror we had endured? How are you different? We are owed a genuine, sincere and open apology. I personally endured morbid mental distress over a period of 2 years but received healing, not by medication or so-called therapies, but by the Word of God. I then went on to greater and greater things, flourishing in my career and managing $8M supply contracts and led a team of my own until my retirement. If you had chained me to the wall, fed me drugs and condemned me in the Victorian approach which you advocate so clearly, how will you answer when called to account? I'm ashamed of you, ABC. We deserved your best. What you gave us was flippant, prejudiced, deceiving, dishonest and unworthy of the wounded and broken populace you claim to represent. May God forgive you now because it will take me much longer.
I applaud my peers for standing up on behalf of us all and creating this protest letter. We are strong together. I reach out to all citizens of Australia to, as a nation, to move past our fears to truly understand ourselves and each other and the situations we all may struggle with at some time in our lives. We can rise together.
I hope the ABC listens to voices of people with lived experience and take steps to remedy the harm they have caused.
Nothing about Us Without Us
As a woman who has experienced bouts of depression which has led me incapable of working, and as a person who supports clients who experience high anxiety and depression, I am aware that they are very often victimised. If they are violent is when they are looking to escape from abuse and villification.
I fully endorse your letter to the ABC. I was surprised at the failure to include the perspective of people with lived experience.
Broadcasters have a responsibility to produce accurate, balanced content.
Customers have questions, you have answers. Display the most frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits.
ABC has chosen to repeat this again tonight.
The damage being caused is indescribable.
While this is great- it is clearly not reaching Ita Buttrose as chair of the board.
What can we do? Discriminatory, inflammatory, sensationalist reporting to progress the career of a reporter- NO MORE!
Why name the episode 'Don't Judge Us' when the 'us' to whom you refer don't actually speak?
Give us the opportunity to use our voices, voices of experience and survival. You will be surprised by what you can learn from us.
United we stand.
Have you opened a new location, redesigned your shop, or added a new product or service? Don't keep it to yourself, let folks know.
Please don't speak for me!
Please ABC stop feeding into the continued stigmatisation and marginalisation of those of us living with psychosis and other such challenges. Consumers and survivors are working and fighting to change these stereotypes you have just reinforced, yet again. We, and all people, deserve better.
As someone with lived experience and a MH service user with experiences of therapy abuse, I thank you.
All to often other people tell stories about us on social media, it’s disrespectful, patronising and in this case was unbalanced and did not include the consumer voice. I am a person with mental Distress. When I see these stories on social media I feel distressed and certainly disenfranchised, disregarded and spoken about and not respected
Please stop stigmatising us.
I am a person, who amongst other situations in life, is recognised as experiencing cyclothymia. I didn't know this for 2/3 of my life. What I needed was information, affirmation and to see and hear about people like myself. I do not need stigma nor judgement nor excessive medicalisation. I support this open letter and am happy to share my story.
I have forwarded the information out through our eList
Copyright © 2020 An open letter to ABC