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October 2012
Stigma and Mental Health

Stigma and Mental Health

On June 4-6, the Section on Stigma and Mental Health of the World Psychiatric Association co-hosted the 5th International Together Against Stigma Conference with the Mental Health Commission of Canada through their Opening Minds anti-stigma initiative. The theme for this year’s congress was: Changing the Way We See Mental Illness. The conference was held in Ottawa, Canada with 670 delegates from 28 countries making this the largest stigma conference to date. The Stigma and Mental Health Section has co-sponsored previous congresses in Leipzig, Germany, Kingston, Canada, Istanbul, Turkey, London, England.

Plenary speakers addressed stigma and the family, lessons learned from anti-stigma programming, building better practices targeting youth, media depictions, workplace mental health, military mental health, and human rights. Over 156 presentations were made with 95 poster sessions on issues ranging from global perspectives on stigma, the importance of social enterprises, personal recovery stories, and use of language. The Mental Health Commission of Canada sponsored 64 people with experience of a mental illness to attend the conference by waiving registration fees or providing full bursaries. Evening activities featured performers who had experienced a mental illness and a silent art auction raised close to $3,000 for the artists, all of whom had experienced a mental illness. A detailed report of the congress will be available on the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s website at: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/english/pages/default.aspx

The next stigma conference is scheduled for February 12-14, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan hosted by the Japanese Society for the elimination of Barriers to Mental Health and the Japan Foundation for Neuroscience and Mental Health.  The theme for this conference will be Together for Recovery.

Heather Stuart

Chair, WPA Section on Stigma and Mental Health

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