Beyond Blue has welcomed encouraging evaluation findings following its ‘Stop.Think.Respect.’ campaign ‘The Invisible Discriminator’ against subtle racism towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, however warns more needs to be done to change attitudes of some people.
As thousands of Australians participate in National Close the Gap Day activities, promoting health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Beyond Blue calls for more awareness of the impact subtle racism can have on mental health.
Beyond Blue launched ‘The Invisible Discriminator’ in July last year, a series of videos which depicted scenarios where Indigenous people were avoided, joked about or regarded with suspicion, and received an overwhelming response to the advertisements, garnering more than 3.75 million online views.
‘The Invisible Discriminator’ was the a record-breaking campaign in Beyond Blue’s 14-year history. It attracted significant interest from the community, reaching 50 per cent of our primary and secondary target audiences of 25 to 34 year old and 35 to 44 year old non-Indigenous Australians.
Findings from an independent campaign evaluation by TNS showed that some people who saw the campaign reported they were better equipped to identify discrimination and understand its impact on the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
People exposed to the campaign were more likely to notice both subtle and overt forms of racism, the evaluation found, and have a greater intention to say something or intervene if they were to witness an act of discrimination.
Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said the campaign had been confronting for many people who were forced to reassess their own behaviour.
“This evaluation reveals that for many people this was a wake up call and they discovered the extent of the impact of racism on a person’s mental health and wellbeing,” she said.
“We are very encouraged to see improved attitudes and awareness in those who recalled our key messages from the ads. We also know that to bring about behaviour change in the long term we need to keep raising awareness and we’re looking at ways to continue our work in this area.
“Concerningly, the findings also showed us there was a segment of the target audience who saw the ads and didn’t think there was anything wrong with the scenarios.
“This illustrates how much work still needs to be done to change entrenched racist attitudes.”
Today, hundreds of Close the Gap events will be held all across Australia to call for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality.
The Close the Gap campaign is Australia’s biggest public movement for health equality. It is a coalition of Australia’s leading Indigenous and non-Indigenous health and human rights organisations. Beyond Blue is a member of the campaign Steering Committee.
To request a full copy of the ‘Stop. Think. Respect.’ evaluation report, please contact Anne Wright from Beyond Blue on (03) 9810 6108.