Most of us know someone impacted by substance use or the challenges associated with mental health and/or addictions recovery. Shame, blame, hopelessness, and distress are just a few feelings someone struggling with these challenges may experience. This is called stigma.
What is stigma?
Stigma is negative attitudes and beliefs about a group of people due to their circumstances in life. It includes discrimination, prejudice, judgement, labeling, isolation and stereotyping. People might hold these negative attitudes and beliefs towards others or themselves because of their life experiences.
Why does stigma matter?
Stigma matters because it can prevent people from getting help. Stigma creates barriers for people to reach out for support when they need it. If people feel judged or ashamed about the challenges they are dealing with, they are less likely to ask for support.
What can I do?
How we discuss substance use and mental health matters. We can help reduce stigma by choosing our words carefully, and having open conversations about the challenges – and the solutions. This change may seem small, but you never know who is listening and may be impacted by your words.
When it comes to substance use and mental health, we all have different experiences and there is a lot we can learn from each other. We invited a group of northerners to talk about their experiences in the video series, We Need to Talk about this Stuff.
Safe Substance Use through Moderation
This video features three northerners who have adopted different forms of safer substance use.
Choosing a Sober Lifestyle
Two northerners share their stories of their personal relationship with substance use and mental wellness, and why sobriety was the best choice for them.
Getting through Hard Times and Choosing Life
Tragic events in this northerner’s life took him to a dark place. He shares what helped him to overcome these feelings and how he now lives life to the fullest.
If you or anyone you know are struggling with substance use, mental health challenges or if you just need to talk, call the NWT Help Line. The Help Line offers support to residents of the Northwest Territories, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is 100% free and confidential. 1-800-661-0844.