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Removing the stigma around Neurological conditions

By Zoran Tran

From data gathered in 2017, it was estimated that 43% of the Australian population had been diagnosed with a neurological disorder.

These included the following:

  • Strokes
  • Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)
  • Dementia
  • Motor Neurone Disease (MND)
  • Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
  • Epilepsy

These disorders can have cognitive, psychological and physical impairments that negatively impact on an individual’s quality of life while also creating societal and economical burden.

With an aging population these numbers are expected to continue to rise to 1 in every 2 people on the coming years.

If these conditions are so common, why is there still such a heavy stigma surrounding a diagnosis?

Let’s look at all the ways stigma can manifest

Social: Refers to the stigmatising responses of others towards the person who has a stigmatised condition.

Self-perception: Refers to the perceptions and feelings of stigma that are internalised by the person with a stigmatised condition.

Health professional: Refers to the attitudes and beliefs of healthcare professionals about certain diseases.

Associative: Refers to the social stigmatisation of individuals simply by virtue of being associated with a stigmatised person.

Structural: Refers to the systemic, institutional, policy, and societal structures that fundamentally and disproportionately limit the rights and freedoms of certain groups of people.

Four factors influencing stigma

Knowledge: Refers to an accurate understanding of the neurological disease.

Familiarity: Refers to knowing someone or having had experience with the neurological disease.

Beliefs: Refers to perceptions or opinions about the neurological disease.

Rurality: Refers to smaller close-knit communities outside of main cities.

Three overarching stigma-related themes

Concealment: Refers to attempts to hide the neurological disease to avoid being stigmatised.

: Refers to members of the public or preventing oneself from participating in social activities.

Disempowerment/Discrimination: Refers to actively choosing not to offer the same life opportunities to the individual such as work.

The overall goal is to develop public campaigns to spread accurate knowledge of these conditions and create other strategies to improve the lives of adults and families living with a neurological disease. This will reduce health‐related stigma and its negative impacts including exclusionary practices, reduced health care‐seeking behaviour, late diagnoses, and nonadherence to disease management and treatment strategies.

How can we help at KEO Care?

KEO Care offers a wide variety of Allied Health services such a Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy.

We aim to provide those seeking our services with the tools needed to live life to the fullest and improve their independence.

The multi-disciplinary team can provide individuals with a neurological disease with exercises to improve their physical function and reach their functional goals. The team can also work with individuals to find assistive technology that will enable them to access the community and modify their home environment to suit their daily needs. The team can help the individual to learn new strategies to communicate effectively amongst family and peers to help with meeting personal and social needs.


Elliot VL, Morgan D, Kosteniuk J, Froehlich Chow A, Bayly M. Health-related stigma of noncommunicable neurological disease in rural adult populations: A scoping review. Health Soc Care Community. 2019 Jul;27(4):e158-e188. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12694. Epub 2018 Dec 12. PMID: 30548727; PMCID: PMC6619253.

Nag N, Lin X, Yu M, Simpson-Yap S, Jelinek GA, Neate SL, Levin M. Assessing Lifestyle Behaviours of People Living with Neurological Conditions: A Panoramic View of Community Dwelling Australians from 2007-2018. J Pers Med. 2021 Feb 19;11(2):144. doi: 10.3390/jpm11020144. PMID: 33669547; PMCID: PMC7922520.

About the author

Zoran Tran, an Experienced Physiotherapist at KEO Care, embarked on his journey in aged care after graduating in 2021. Zoran developed a fervent passion for aiding the geriatric community, applying a goal-oriented approach to guide clients through physiotherapy interventions, ensuring they achieve their desired outcomes.

Currently focused on aged care, Zoran is set to extend his impact to the community space. With a dedication to removing the stigma around neurological conditions, he envisions empowering individuals through personalised exercises, assistive technology, and home environment modifications. Zoran’s commitment lies in facilitating effective communication and implementing innovative strategies to meet both personal and social needs.