This DP Original article explores the stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors that have historically contributed to the disparities experienced by ethnic/minority populations in the mental health and substance use systems of care.
“Unlike alcohol and drugs, where many people strive for total abstinence, individuals “addicted” to food cannot completely abstain from eating. They need to use food (their “drug of choice”) without over- or under-eating. But recovery is possible.”
This article takes a look at how common distorted perceptions around addiction have evolved into “three basic schools of thought on alcoholics and homeless shelters” centered around the idea of “wet “ or “dry” shelters (whether or not participants are allowed to seek shelter while intoxicated). The article also touches on harm reduction, housing first, and sample goals/ viewpoints from organizations providing each. A great introduction to the conversation around treating homelessness and addiction! Click the title for the full article from The Fix.
After working with a local network of current and former drug users, 18 year old Max Kerr realized that he had many distorted perceptions towards homelessness and addiction. “When I came to my first meeting I kind of just kept to myself, and I was really nervous. I didn’t entirely want to shake people’s hands because all the perceptions I had were: homeless people are grimy, they’re dirty. And anyone I told about this, they said ‘Well, be careful that they don’t try to manipulate you into giving them money or drugs or something,’” he said. “As soon as I met them, I knew that my perception of them was wrong. I think a lot of people probably know that, too, but they don’t listen to that thought,” he said. Are you seeing clearly? Refocus and look again. Click the title for the entire story from The Abbotsford News.
This article from TakePart at Participant Media is challenging the distorted perceptions around addiction and homelessness by exploring the reasons why homeless people begin using drugs and alcohol and the barriers that keep them from treatment and long-term recovery. “Substance abuse is the leading cause of death in the homeless community, and almost half of people living on the streets suffer from chronic substance addiction… There’s really not a whole lot of anything that’s successful for the homeless to get their addictions taken care of. Even when there is a program they can get to, to get clean and sober, as soon as they’re done they’re right back on the street where the drugs and dealers are.” They also highlight the 2016 LIVES Challenge, a video-based anti-stigma project hosted by Recovery Brands. Click the title for the full article from TakePart.
Celebrity endorsements help bring the stigma conversation to the table, but do they really impact the “nearly one in five U.S. adults” who live with mental illness and addiction every day?
“Treatment for addiction, facilitated within or by the workplace, has been shown to be successful in increasing employees’ legal, mental, and social functioning, as well as decreasing absenteeism rates, workplace conflict, and productivity problems upon return from treatment… Taking steps to address addiction is truly an opportunity to humanize the workplace and help reduce suffering.” Click the title to access the entire article from Harvard Health Blog.
"A good first step toward successfully supporting a person in recovery is to honestly examine your own beliefs and feelings about addiction, and to make sure that your response to the colleague you are about to welcome back isn’t hampered by any hidden negative attitudes." Are you seeing clearly? Take some time to refocus and look again. Click the “Source” link for the full article from Harvard Health Blog.
“Rossi had just gotten a lesson in a hidden reality of the construction industry: In these physically demanding workplaces, painkillers are still a common way to get through the day, even as the opioid crisis has spiraled and workers have attended funeral after funeral. Workplace data on addiction is sparse, but recent research has indicated that construction workers are at higher risk for fatal overdoses — particularly heroin overdoses.” So the Allied Trades Assistance Program is bringing peer-support to construction sites. Follow the link for the full article from philly.com.
The American Psychiatric Association’s Center for Workplace Mental Health has developed a website full of educational information, case studies, and resources to help employers fight distorted perceptions and behavioral health stigma in the workplace. Follow the “Sources” link for their Employee Resources page, which features a calculator for calculating the monetary importance of prioritizing mental health in your workplace, an awareness campaign designed to reduce stigma around mental health, tools for addressing depression in the workplace, and the opportunity to sign up for their monthly Mental Health Works newsletter. Addictions materials are available in the tabs near the top of the page.