Break the chains of stigma: Everybody knows somebody

Delve into the critical issue of stigma surrounding addiction and its detrimental impact on individuals seeking help. The pervasive stigma attached to addiction often acts as a barrier, preventing people from reaching out for the support they desperately need. Discuss this key point and identify the urgent need to reduce stigma and increase awareness and understanding of addiction’s root causes so that more people feel able to seek help. Summarise the strategy and key messages of Addiction Awareness Week, preview the 2023 campaign, and get an invitation to participate in the week.

Learning objectives: At the end of this presentation, delegates will be able to:

  • Discuss the stigma barrier: Stigma poses a significant obstacle to individuals seeking help for addiction. By examining the negative beliefs and societal attitudes surrounding addiction, we uncover how stigma perpetuates shame and hinders the path to recovery.
  • Removing Shame and Increasing Awareness: By fostering an environment of compassion, understanding, and empathy, we can dismantle the shame associated with addiction. We explore strategies to increase awareness about addiction as a complex health issue, rooted in various factors such as genetics, trauma, and social influences.
  • Empowering Help-Seeking Behaviour: By reducing stigma and promoting an atmosphere of acceptance, we aim to empower individuals to ask for help. We discuss activities and initiatives that can be implemented to create supportive networks, educate communities, and facilitate open conversations around addiction.

Taking Action on Addiction is a national, multi-partner campaign led by Forward Trust, that aims to reframe existing perceptions of addiction and build awareness of it that improves understanding and empathy, reduces prejudice and enables more people to get the help they need. Through its central focus, Addiction Awareness Week, the campaign generates substantial awareness in the media and public alike.