Stigma: let’s make the moment matter
Maybe the pandemic has taught us something about the loneliness and isolation that can go hand in hand with stigma – about reaching out, and about joining in when we’re not necessarily invited. The NHS APA was illuminating on many levels and felt like a representative forum informed by people with lived experience (p6).
As part of the discussion Karen Biggs said we need to stop referring to stigma (eg when talking to a journalist) and talk instead about prejudice, discrimination and shame – things that we all understand are unacceptable. And this is so true – the otherness that makes stigma the preserve of other people becomes commonplace and relatable when you give it familiar terms. We’re hearing from different directions – including many people involved in and affected by the treatment experience – that there is a will to connect and form productive alliances to tackle stigma. And more than that, there is an urgency in the wake of the Dame Carol Black report to seize the moment, and to emphasise that the treatment policy framework desperately needs to encompass alcohol as much as drugs (p16).
We’ll be taking up these strong threads and continuing to weave them through forthcoming events and debate in DDN. Keep your views coming – let’s make the moment matter.
Claire Brown, editor
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