Stigma is the shame someone feels when unfairly criticized, judged, or blamed for having mental health, drug or alcohol problems. Stigma causes a person to feel embarrassed, be reluctant to admit problems or seek help. Remember: mental health, drug, and alcohol problems are treatable illnesses - not character flaws! Stop the stigma!
Suggestions to Stop Stigma:
- Refrain from using pejorative labels, such as "addict," "junkie," or "crazy" when referring to someone with a drug, alcohol or mental health condition.
- Recognize that many people have a genetic predisposition to inherit a susceptibility to developing mental health, drug and alcohol problems.
- Understand that quitting drug and alcohol abuse is not a simple matter of willpower, but takes hard work, emotional support, and encouragement.
- Refrain from blaming someone with mental health, drug, or alcohol problems. Just as people with diabetes or cancer are not blamed for causing their illnesses, we should not blame those suffering from mental health or substance abuse problems. Instead, recognize the courage it takes to battle any health problem and offer kindness, caring, and encouragement.