What is Stigma?
What is stigma?
Stigma (as defined by Merriam-Webster)
stig·ma | \ ˈstig-mə \
plural stigmas or stigmata\ stig-ˈmä-tə , ˈstig-mə-tə \
Essential Meaning of stigma
1: a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something
To be honest, I never really thought about this word much until I started working in the Prevention world. And to be honest now, I could probably come up with an additional definition or two.
(Becky’s) Definition of Stigma:
It won’t happen to my kid because they are not “those” kinds of kids.
My kids are too young to know about those “kinds of things”
“Those” people do it to themselves, why should we help them.
Ok… I could probably list a few more but you get my point. Stigma takes the shape of many different things, and is in our everyday life whether we realize it our not. Some stigmas may be there because that is what we were taught, some because that is what we believe, and some stigma is there because that is what we hope(it won't be my kid). What ever the reason may be stigma is real and it is affecting the health of our communities.
I received some push back recently from a person on Facebook after we posted a post about a Narcan vending machine that was being placed in our community. It was one of those comments that spewed..”they did this to themselves”… “Why can’t other lifesaving meds be in vending machines?” (which would be great right?? Lets go advocate for that too!) It is comments like this that make STIGMA REAL. Comments like this try to shame one disease in hopes of shining light of another, putting one disease against another disease.... and that's just wrong in my opinion. STIGMA.
I will always advocate for ANYTHING that has even the smallest potential to save a life. And I don’t believe life should be a “versus” debate. I read an article that highlighted the number of deaths that have occurred over the last 12 months… 100,000 overdose deaths have happened in our country over the last 12 months! Is it because someone never had “that” conversation with their child because they were not “those” kids? Is it because someone has unfair beliefs about a group of "those" people and decided their life wasn't worth saving? I am sure there are lots of reasons, and lots of reasons (100,000 deaths) that we can all decide to do better.
“We can’t change the world unless we change ourselves
I couldn't agree more! I pledge for this new year to try and make a difference in not only my community, but in myself. I will focus on #ONECHANGE…. #ONEDAY at a time….to make our world #ONEWORLD, Will you?