Press Release

Minister Moloney launches National Stigma Reduction Campaign ‘See Change’

Mr. John Moloney, T.D., Minister for Disability and Mental Health today, Thursday 15th April 2010, together with the partnership organisations launched the National Stigma Reduction Campaign‘See Change’.

Minister Moloney said “Stigma has no place in Irish society today. It damages people’s lives and can be deeply hurtful and isolating, and is one of the most significant problems encountered by people with mental health problems. Learning to live with mental health problems is extremely difficult, but this difficulty can be compounded when someone experiences, at first hand, the prejudice caused by stigma. It can also be distressing for the families and friends of those persons”.

‘See Change’will work to change attitudes and behaviour to reduce stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems. The vision for‘See Change’ is that of an Ireland where every person has an open and positive attitude to their own and others’ mental health. The aim of the campaign is to

  • Reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems and challenge discrimination.
  • Create an environment where people are more open and positive in their attitudes and behaviour towards mental health.
  • Promote a greater understanding and acceptance of and support for people with mental health problems, and
  • Empower individual people with experience of mental health problems to gain equality, respect and rights.

A network of national and local organisations across the country will carry the anti-stigma message through local broadcasts, local print media and a range of other activities. The campaign will run at least for two years and it is hoped that by the end of that period, people with mental health problems will find it easier to participate as valued members of society with access to meaningful employment, appropriate housing and positive interpersonal relationships.

Minister Moloney added “Eliminating the stigma associated with mental ill health will not happen overnight. However the ‘See Change’ campaign has the potential to effect change within Irish society and help lay the necessary foundations for a real and positive transformation of how mental illness is perceived.

Details were also announced of the competition to provide a slogan for ‘See Change’ or ideas to bring about change in public attitudes and behaviour so that there is a reduction of stigma and discrimination. The winning entry will receive €5,000.

The partnership organisations involved in the ‘See Change’ Campaign are:
The Department of Health and Children, Shine, Health Service Executive, Mental Health Commission, National Office for Suicide Prevention, National Disability Authority, National Service Users Executive, The Equality Authority, The Irish Sports Council, St Patrick’s University Hospital, The College of Psychiatry of Ireland, Amnesty International, Bodywhys, Detect, DCU School of Nursing, Glen, Grow, Headline, Headstrong, Irish Advocacy Network, Irish Business and Employers Confederation, Mental Health Ireland, ReachOut.com and UCC Students Union.

For more details of the Campaign, including the partnership organisations, the See Change competition etc. log on to www.seechange.ie or find See Change Ireland on Facebook. Alternatively, entries can be posted to: See Change Competition, c/o 38 Blessington St., Dublin 7.