The majority of people with a mental illness are more than twice as likely to become victims of violence than the general population.
“We need to challenge the myth that all people with mental illness are violent,’’ says Professor Allan Fels AO, Chair of the National Mental Health Commission.
“Most people with a mental illness are not violent at all, and studies have shown that those with a psychotic illness carry the added burden of feeling vulnerable to harm.”
Professor Fels, a keynote speaker at Griffith University’s ‘Challenging the Mental Illness –Violence Nexus’ conference, said the stigma of mental illness was significant, despite the work being done to overcome beliefs towards those vulnerable in our society.
“Part of this stigma is the misguided belief that people with mental illness are violent,’’ he said.
“This discrimination hides what should be our true focus – that a person with a mental illness is more likely to hurt themselves rather than hurt others.
“We need to address this stigma that impacts on a person’s ability to live a full and happy life and able to contribute to society.”