stigma reduction

…[I]n a lot of addiction rhetoric, enabling is a dirty word akin to aiding and abetting addiction — conspiring with the enemy. It’s based on the creed that a person struggling with drugs has to “hit bottom” and suffer enormous loss and intolerable pain before they’re ready for help. Never mind that research actually contradicts the “hitting bottom” model; too many addiction counselors and self-styled experts still consider it an article of faith and warn us in dire terms against enabling. Does someone in your life have a drug problem, and you don’t want to cut them off, break up with them, fire them, kick them out? You’ll be accused of enabling them by interrupting their trajectory towards hitting bottom.

It’s a cruel philosophy that has caused immeasurable damage, both to people who use drugs and those who love them. Parents, partners and families seeking help and support have been taught the gospel of enabling, held responsible for their loved ones’ addictions, and blamed for their relapses. The taboo against enabling aims to strip away any and all forms of support, compassion, and aid for people who use drugs. Those who preach against the evils of enabling are deeply, almost sadistically, invested in seeing people who struggle with drugs isolated, and punished, as if they’d somehow be purified through suffering. No matter if that punishment takes the form of a fatal overdose — at least nobody enabled them.

anonymous asked:

How do you think we can combat the stigma around mental health using social media?

I’m glad that you, like me, agree that we can and that your question just assumes that social media has a powerful role to play. I believe that we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of what can be done online to connect people to resources to get help and begin conversations on the importance of caring for and treating mental health. At Born This Way Foundation, we are working to address online harassment and the related side effects for the more than 70% of young people who report being harassed online. We partnered with Vox Media and Intel to launch a coalition called Hack Harassment that is aimed at reducing the instances and severity of online harassment. You can learn more and sign the pledge by visiting HackHarassment.org. Hack Harassment is just one example of the way that we can use social media to amplify what is and what is not working and encourage other people to share their stories.

Actually, social media is a great tool to combat stigma. Let’s first define stigma -  Stigma is when someone views you in a negative way because you have a characteristic or trait that’s thought to be negative.  Stigma can lead to shame, isolation, loneliness, avoiding help and discriminatory action.  Stigma sounds gargantuan, monstrous and impenetrable. However, stigma can be effectively address.

Patrick Corrigan, a well known stigma researcher, identified two effective stigma reduction techniques: education and contact.  Educating people about the stigmatize issue and meeting someone who is doing well with the stigmatize condition.

What can you do to combat stigma using social media?  

Educate others by sharing articles, websites, lectures and statistics that defined mental illness and bust myths.  These resources will help your followers learn about what mental illness is and what it is not.

Introduce stories, people, art and testimonials from people who struggling, striving and thriving with mental illness.  By hearing stories, listening to narratives and seeing poetry and paintings from people with mental illness, your followers will see that people with mental illness are talented, beautiful, courageous, strong, vulnerable and human, just like everyone else.

The I Am Acceptance Student Ambassadors use the online space both blogs and social media to do combat stigma and promote acceptance and wellness.  Take a look at their work here - iamacceptance.org/blog

Stigma Reduction and Public Interest

So, as we know, a rebrand requires changing people’s perspectives, and with One Direction this largely requires shattering the unfortunate stigma surrounding the band. Now, given the fact that recent baby related stunts did not reduce stigma enough to keep Drag Me Down, an excellent song, moving on its own momentum, clearly something better is needed. We are coming into a season of promo, with both the Apple Music Festival, and then a new album, so what will actually work to smash the stigma to the ground?

Why didn’t babygate work? Well, no one cares. Everyone has a friend or family member or whatever who got a random chick pregnant. No. One. Cares. (Except us of course, who reacted adversely). It’s enough to keep the conspiracy theorists digging for a few moments, and gets Louis’ name heard, but for stigma reduction? Literally useless. In fact, no one gives two shits who Harry, or Louis, or Niall, or Liam, is dating, assuming it’s a female and as boring as all previous public relationships have been. Not only is it not interesting, but it does nothing to change the reputation surrounding the band: “Boyband member: dates girl.” What a shock.

So what is going to be big enough to keep people talking, and also change perspective or at least intrigue enough to give them a chance? We know the music is good. We know people like their personalities when they see them on talk shows. But what’s the factor that is really going to shatter their perspective to the ground?

I think we all know what it is. And while I don’t want to push anyone into anything, I strongly urge HQ to discuss with their clients potential plans for the future, and how to really get the publics attention, while giving EVERYONE, fans and boys included, what they want.