Stigma is when someone views others in negative ways. Stigma prevents healing because it makes people scared to seek help or support for fear of being judged or even harmed.
Stigma is well supported in being associated with perpetuating harms associated with substance use, and furthermore contributes to social isolation.
For stigmatized populations, isolation results in hidden substance use, or using alone, and is associated with higher death rates. Hidden mental health concerns and substance use also fosters poor access to social support and resources, lack of support from loved ones, further isolation and mental health decline, misled understanding of the prevalence in a community and, ultimately, a lack of laws and policy changes needed to address the issues above.
We All Play A Part
End Stigma with words
Person-first language is powerful
“Person who uses substances”
“Addict or Abuser”
Use respect & compassion to value people as human beings first
End Stigma with Connection
Connect with others in your community
• Volunteer & invite participation
• Let people around you know you are there to help
• Check in with others & offer support
• Include and connect with all cultures and age groups
• Ensure youth of all ages form stable and positive connections with safe adults
End Stigma with Influence
• Talk about reasons why substance use occurs
• Talk about media biases and untruths
• Encourage questions instead of judgments
• Support policy changes