Understanding Stigma: Promoting Inclusive Attitudes and Practice


Our Community Planning Aberdeen Understanding Stigma: Promoting Inclusive Attitudes and Practice #AntiStigmaAberdeen campaign starts today and throughout August we will be promoting resources and providing all our Community Planning Partners with training opportunities so that we can all play our part by challenging stigma through: 

    1. Educating Ourselves
    2. Normalising the conversation,
    3. Challenging stigmatising language
    4. Listening 

Stigma is wide ranging and experienced by many because of their personal circumstances, through the #AntiStigmaAberdeen campaign, from promotion of practical resources and training opportunities you will access to a distinct set of knowledge and skills to help you understand and address the impact of stigma on people.

Below we have resources on the impact stigma has on:

    • young people;
    • people with mental health difficulties;
    • people who use substances, people in treatment or in recovery from substance use.; and 
    • people living with HIV; 
    • people living in poverty.

Please also now see video and resources about social stigma associated with Covid-19. 

 As the campaign progresses we’ll be adding more resources and giving a spotlight on areas where stigma is experienced. 

#AntistigmaAberdeen "Understanding the Impact of Stigma and How You can Remove It" Webinar

As part of our #AntistigmaAberdeen campaign and with 31st of August being Overdose Awareness Day, the Recovery on Air show has focused on stigma.

Read our Campaign and International Overdose Awareness Day Press Articles

Watch the videos below to hear the devastating real life impact stigma has, how we can change stigma to respect and why the Scottish Drugs Death Taskforce sees tackling stigma as a priority.

HIV Stigma

Living with HIV now is a very different experience to what it was ten or twenty years ago, and living with HIV in the UK is quite different to living with HIV in some other parts of the world. People living with HIV in Scotland are living longer healthier lives.

However, poor knowledge around HIV and misconceptions surrounding exactly how the virus can be passed on still exists. This means that HIV can evoke fears, prejudices and negative attitudes. As a result many people living with HIV still experience stigma and discrimination even in our own heath care services.

If you need support for or want to get involved with tackling HIV stigma, please consider contacting Our Positive Voice – a forum for people living with or affected by HIV in Grampian: https://ourpositivevoice.org/ / info@ourpositivevoice.org

See the presentation below to learn the facts about HIV and remove those myths 

Children & Young People Stigma & Discrimination

If more young people were able to talk more openly about mental health, stigma and discrimination would be reduced. Click on the images below to learn more about stigma and discrimination from See Me

Stigma Experienced by Diverse Communities

Stigma in the community is caused by diversity and differences. It can cause a big impact in the social environment. Unfortunately, stigma is more common then what we can think, and we can all play our part to tackle stigma and promote community cohesion. See the presentation below to see the data on prejudice and hate crime in Aberdeen and how through educating ourselves and challenging stigma we can reduce those figures. 

Remember, we are all so many things, remove the labels. 

GREC Tackling Stigma, Prejudice and Discrimination Presentation

Mental Health Stigma

There’s still stigma and discrimination attached to mental health problems, research by See Me Scotland found that across Scotland 56% of people with a mental health condition have experienced stigma and discrimination. 

Stigma and discrimination can make people who are unwell feel worse. It can stop them asking for help and ultimately could be the difference between life and death. 

Read the resources from See Me Scotland to understand the impact of mental health stigma and the steps you can take to tackle this.

Sharing real stories on mental health and the impact of stigma and discrimination is one of the best ways to change the way people think and behave. This follows the idea of social contact, that the best way to change negative behaviours is to hear directly from someone with that experience (lived experience). Read the resource from See Me below to learn about some of the key things that they advise you could do, to make a difference in changing perceptions.


Substance Use Stigma

Does the stigma around drugs and the people who use them cost lives?

Evidence demonstrates that many who could benefit from treatment can be discouraged from doing so by language, attitudes and behaviours that appear judgmental, even if these are displayed unwittingly. Stigma can negatively impact the morale of those providing support services, and friends and families of those at risk can often feel the effects of stigma by association, at a time when they too deserve support.

Read how the Scottish Drugs Taskforce is tackling stigma through removing barriers and encouraging anyone to seek support and how you 

Read the resources below to see how the language you use matters

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs, and the Scottish Recovery Consortium in their joint research programme entitled Insert Standard Stigmatising Headline & Image Here: Rewriting the Media’s Portrayal of Addiction and Recovery made six recommendations for journalists and editors:

    1. Use positive imagery
    2. Adopt People First language
    3. Use your article as an opportunity to educate
    4. Always include support service information
    5. Learn about lived experience and the impact of stigma
    6. Include more positive stories reflecting recovery, support, and lived/living experiences

Read the report above and resources below on why language matters and consider how you apply these recommendations in your work.

Social Stigma Associated with Covid-19

COVID-19 has provoked social stigma and discriminatory behaviours against people of certain ethnic backgrounds as well as anyone perceived to have been in contact with the virus. The World Health Organisation has produced a guide to preventing and addressing social stigma 

The guide gives some tips on how to address and avoid compounding, social stigma:
1. Words matter: dos and don’ts 
2. Do your part: simple ideas to drive stigma away
3. Communication tips and messages

In this video hear from someone explaining that they didn’t want to identify as ethnic minority, because of the stigma of the association with being Chinese during a pandemic.