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.
Kevin Hines is using his personal story to fight distorted perceptions around suicide and spread awareness of prevention. Check out his film, Suicide: The Ripple Effect at suicidetherippleeffect.com or share your story about how suicide has affected your life on their Facebook page, Facebook.com/suicidetherippleeffect. If you're contemplating suicide, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
“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.”
Read along as Katie Horneshaw confronts an Australian media outlet’s portrayal of heroin addiction and challenges some of the distorted perceptions around addiction. This article may be rooted in Australia, but it’s message of empathy is inspiring no matter where in the world you’re located.
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.
”The stigma of drug use here is so strong, mothers ask Campanella if she can spare a dose of Narcan in case they need it to save their children. They'd rather not be seen in line at the pharmacy, they tell her.”
What distorted perceptions exist around addiction, treatment, and the overdose reversal drug Narcan? This article from EMS1 serves as a great introduction to the internal and external stigmas that can deter individuals, families, and entire communities from embracing treatment and recovery from addiction. Click the title for the full article from EMS1.com.
“Priya Mammen, an emergency room doctor at Methodist, said she often has a hard time convincing her patients to seek help outside the community. ‘Sometimes they don't even want to go up to our Center City campus,’ she said. ‘Prevention Point is a phenomenal resource that I would love to link any number of people to. But they're like, 'That's Kensington. I don't go there. I'm not that person.' The stigma goes in all directions.’”
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.
“After being homeless for a period of time, a homeless person gains a mental illness, if nothing else the depression or anxiety that goes with it... we stay exhausted physically because we’re exhausted psychologically and mentally.” Three Redding residents who are experiencing or have experienced homelessness shed light on the connection between mental wellness and stable housing. Watch this short, 8 minute video to learn more about their stories.
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.