We talk about mental illness more now but stereotypes and discrimination still happen. Hear about how it happens, how to deal with it, and how to stay true to yourself.

This consumer suffered discrimination from friends and found that some friends weren't able to cope with her mental illness. 

The idea of what's considered 'normal' when it comes to mental health is changing, with more people breaking the stigma and talking openly about their mental health struggles.

"I definitely think the stigma around mental health is changing ... We know that one in four people do struggle with mental health in their lives and we have lots of people coming out and breaking the stigma."

Mental illness does not discriminate. It can affect people from all walks of life.

Some consumers find that their workplace isn't accepting of their mental health issues.

One way to overcome stigma and negative stereotypes is to have open conversations with people when safe to do so.

"People will use our mental illness against us. What I've had to do is actually sit down with people and tell them why I've become mentally unwell and give them reasons for why my behaviours have been the way they have been. But you need to stay strong and you need to ... tell people the truth of what you've been through."

There are different ways of dealing with stigma. Sometimes it might help to take time to understand why someone might hold negative beliefs about people with mental illness.

Pathologising is where people reduce you, your feelings and actions to your illness and can be difficult to deal with.

While a diagnosis can be empowering, some may struggle to not let their mental illness define them.

"When I was diagnosed with mental illness, it sort of became my personality ... I had to move away from that and find different hobbies and different things that made me who I am ... I like music, I like photography, I like walking, I like nature. And none of that is defined in any mental illness so why should I define myself as that."

Mobile Stroke Unit with Ambulance Victoria paramedic and the RMH Stroke team
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