Stigma has been identified as the leading barrier to seeking treatment for substance use disorders.
People with substance use disorder (SUD) are often stigmatized, by their families, their friends, and their community. They are even stigmatized in places where they seek help. The suffering individual and their family often feel isolated and alone. No one should be shamed for ANY chronic disease, be it medical or mental health related. People suffering with SUD should be treated with respect and dignity while in the throes of their addiction or on their path to recovery.
The Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition created the #StigmaPreventsChange media campaign to addresses the broad issues related to stigma and its effects.
Phase I involved the creation of two (2) thirty-second PSA’s (below). The first video ” 2 out of 10″ addresses the very real truth that addiction can affect anyone. It does not discriminate based on gender, race, zip code, or financial well-being. The second video “Encouragement” addresses the negative and hurtful language often used towards someone with SUD. We need to change our language and offer support rather than criticism. These video clips were aired at local movie theaters and local television. The audio clips were also played through Pandora Radio.
Phase II involved the creation of print media. Various sized posters address the stigma felt within the treatment and recovery communities around pathways to recovery. The message is simple: “There is more than one path to recovery”. What works for one person, may not work for another, and the key to recovering from a SUD is to take it one day at a time, and if you fall you get back up and try again. When someone suffering from SUD is seeking treatment and a life of recovery, it is important for their loved ones, sponsors, friends, and treatment providers to encourage their chosen path, rather than criticize it. Posters were displayed on MBTA buses and commuter train platforms within the Mystic Valley region.
The state is also addressing the issue of stigma in a similar campaign #StateWithoutStigMA . The MVPHC announced its support of this campaign on WCVB Channel 5 Eye Opener
Join the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition in changing the way we talk, think and treat people suffering with substance use disorder.