Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt today urged the people of far north Queensland to get behind National Schizophrenia Awareness Week, May 11 – 17.

“Mental health issues in general deserve a lot more attention than they currently get,” Mr Pitt said.

“As the Mental Health Minister in the previous government I was very aware that schizophrenia is an illness that is often misunderstood and rarely discussed in open forums.

“According to the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (MIFA), schizophrenia affects one million Australians. That’s a huge proportion of the community that has to live with the illness day-in, day-out, and it comes with a stigma that makes many people in the community uncomfortable.

“Given this week is national Schizophrenia Awareness Week, it’s time we change the way we think about people with schizophrenia and work towards ways people with the illness can lead better, more productive lives.

“The MIFA needs our help to make people aware that there is an important, free service that those living with schizophrenia can access to help them find the support they need.

“The initiative is called MiNetworks, and people can access the service by calling 1800 985 944 or by going to www.minetworks.org.au.”

Some key facts from MIFA on Schizophrenia:

  • As you read this, 230,000 Australians have Schizophrenia, up to four people close to them are affected and – in short – a million Australians are being impacted.
  • We believe it’s the most stigmatised condition in Australia – along with HIV.
  • Many people in the community believe Schizophrenia is scary, hopeless, violent and untreatable. All of this is inaccurate. People with Schizophrenia have one personality like everyone else and it is a mental health condition.
  • The community does not realise it is a common and treatable condition.
  • It is obviously concerning that it is estimated about only half of people affected by Schizophrenia even access clinical assistance.
  • There’s so much ignorance around this topic. Research shows 30 percent of carers avoid telling others about their situation outside of immediate circles because of guilt.
  • 60 percent of people have experienced negative and offensive attitudes from others.