Too often people with complex mental health issues are stigmatised by society and even by the medical community, a Melbourne University forum has heard. The “Stamping out stigma: science and services” heard there was an enormous way to go before complex mental health issues were broadly accepted.

Wellways Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Crowther joined a panel of mental health experts and TV personality Osher Gunsberg, who spoke about his own experience of psychosis and mental health issues.

Once afraid to speak about his experiences, Mr Gunsberg said he now carried a message of hope. “There is great power in sharing stories and that is why I talk about my experience.”

Complex and recurrent mental health issues extended beyond the individual to affect the family and the community, Ms Crowther said. “We look at the person, their family and their community. This is vital if we are going to make a difference in people’s lives.”

The talk was moderated by Paul Barclay of ABC Radio and will soon be broadcast as part of ABC RN Big Ideas.