When Professor Norman Sartorius became President of the World Psychiatric Association, he proposed that the World Psychiatric Association engage in efforts to fight stigma. In 1996, the World Psychiatric Association created Open the Doors, a global program to fight stigma and discrimination related specifically to schizophrenia. As the program rolled out internationally, it became important to have a forum to discuss findings and to share best practices with interested researchers, policy makers, advocates, and people with lived experience of a mental illness. Members of the Scientific Section on Stigma and Mental Illness have worked with local organizers to offer international Together Against Stigma Conferences. The aim of the conferences is to foster multidisciplinary interest in anti-stigma programs—breaking down the silos between disciplines and driving efforts from theory into practice.
Today, the International Together Against Stigma conference is held on a biennial basis, with hosting duties rotating to a new country every two years. Individuals working in mental illness and anti-stigma fields from around the globe are welcome to attend. The history of TAS conferences is shown below.