End the Stigma

Footprints to Recovery is built on our capacity to Find The Reason. We encourage our patients and partners, as well as ourselves to ask, what have we always wanted, what is possible and what can happen if we find those reasons?

On behalf of National Mental Health Awareness Month, we ask you, as well as ourselves to imagine what would be possible if we put an end to Mental Health & Addiction stigma?

The below pledge is an effort to influence a shift in mental health and addiction stigma. Through collaboration, dreaming big and powerful actions we believe that together we can make a difference.

Take The Pledge!

I pledge to:

  • Educate myself and learn about mental health and addiction problems.
  • Avoid using stigmatizing words like “crazy”, “nuts” and “addict”.
  • Never reduce people to a diagnosis.
  • Share experiences, stories and information with others to spread awareness.
  • Support those living with mental health or addiction diagnoses.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Shame. Fear. Alone. These are some words that go hand in hand with stigma. Over 18 million adults in the U.S. experience a substance use disorder and 1 in 4 of those adults also have a serious co-occuring mental health disorder (SAMHSA, 2018). Mental health and addiction are still seen by many as choices that people should snap out of or stop. Together we can reduce stigma and create a positive change. It is important for all people to actively counter stigma and to support the needs of those with substance use and mental illness. Taking an active role in the fight against stigma, improper attitudes, and behaviors will help empower others to get the help they need.

– Melissa Rocchi EVP of Operation’s Expands Upon our Pledge

Below are 5 easy steps you can take to help end the stigma.

  1. Know the facts. Educate yourself and learn about addiction and mental health. Make sure you know the facts instead of the many myths out there.
  2. Words matter. Think about the terms you use to describe people who experience mental health or addiction. Engage in respectful dialogue with others.
  3. Never reduce people to a diagnosis. People with mental health and substance use illnesses make valuable contributions to society. If someone breaks their leg, it doesn’t mean they’re broken. Stop focusing on one part of someone, rather see them as a whole.
  4. Use your influence and educate. We’re all connected to one another. Be a voice for fairness and truth with your friends, family members, lawmakers, and the young people in your life.
  5. Support people. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Don’t minimize or dramatize, encourage people to get the treatment they need and deserve.

Of course, there are other ways to fight stigmas. These five suggestions are a starting point. The journey to eliminate stigma around addiction and mental health is not a short or simple one, and if more people make the effort to minimize the stigma in their own lives, it just may make a difference in the big picture.

Looking to Get More Involved?

In honor of May’s National Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re launching a one-day event Thursday, May 16th to raise awareness and reduce stigma. FTR’s clinical, outreach and executive teams, alongside alumni of FTR’s program, will pass out lime green ribbons (a representation of mental health awareness) and tips for reducing mental health and addiction stigma in downtown Philadelphia, Chicago and Denver.

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