Despite national community awareness programs, there remains a high level of misunderstanding of the nature of mental illness, in its many and varied forms. The community continues to hold a great deal of negativity towards those who experience mental illness. This “stigma” is therefore a significant barrier to individuals accepting the possibility that they themselves may experience thoughts and feelings which might indicate the presence of a mental illness.
Thus many people with mental illness remain undiagnosed and untreated. They experience significant negative outcomes and those who love and care for them are similarly negatively affected.
The goals of community awareness are to increase understanding of good mental health and how this can be fostered and of the various mental illnesses and how these are diagnosed and treated. We also wish to encourage less stigmatising attitudes towards those who experience mental illness.
Most types of mental illness have their onset in adolescence and early adulthood. For this reason the Institute’s two main community awareness events, MindPlay and Youth Rockin' the Black Dog, are directed at this target group.