see the person.
hear their story.
adults entered services for drug and alcohol treatment in 2020 to 2021¹
people died while in contact with treatment services in 2020 to 2021¹
drug-related deaths in 2020, the highest since records began²
stigma kills campaign
Everyone knows someone who has experienced addiction at some point in their lives, from substance misuse to gambling or gaming addiction.
Our campaign aims to highlight the damaging effects of stigmatising language and attitudes to those who experience addiction. It asks for all of us as individuals to look beyond the addiction and to see the person behind it and hear their story. It also aims to break down the myths and misconceptions around addiction demonstrating it is both a mental and physical health condition and not a person's choice.
The below case studies are excerpts from a report commissioned by the NHS APA and conducted by Working With Everyone. The images used do not depict the people that case studies refer to. Read the full report here.
watch our video
Stigma is created through our perceptions, words and actions. Stigmatising beliefs and attitudes have a devastating effect on a person's ability to seek help and support.
They create stereotypes, judgements and biases, stopping us from seeing the human being behind the illness. Stigma creates walls, loneliness and poor health, & ultimately stigma kills.
of the adult population in England are estimated to gamble at at-risk levels³
alcohol-specific deaths registered in 2020, an increase of almost 20% since 2019⁴
more people were entering gaming addiction clinics in 2020 vs 2019⁵
how can I help?
We all know someone who has experienced addiction. We are also likely to all know someone who has felt stigmatised because of their addiction or the addiction of someone close to them. The easiest way to help prevent stigma is to think about your words and actions.
Like our social media accounts and use the hashtags #WeAllKnowSomeone and #SeeThePersonHearTheirStory to encourage conversations about breaking down stigma.
using words that hurt and isolate people
thinking about why someone might be ill
if they need help or support
In order to start breaking down the barriers to lifesaving treatment we need to change our language, perceptions and behaviours to those who are struggling with addiction.
Download our Campaign Paper and the case study report "Breaking Stigma Down", commissioned by the NHS APA and produced by Working With Everyone, to learn more about how stigma manifests and the steps we need to take to challenge it to ensure people with addiction can access the care and treatment they need.
"It's the importance of allies and it is the importance of us as individuals to challenge stigma whenever we see it"
- Danny Hames, NHS APA Chair
show your support
We would like to thank everybody who has supported us so far in our pledge to end stigma.
So that you can show your support and share the important message of our campaign, we have created a host of assets available for you to download to further show your support across your websites, organisations and social channels.
allies against stigma
In order to challenge the stigma that is so prevalent in society, we must work in partnership. We are proud to work closely with and be supported by a number of like-minded organisations. This collaboration allows the NHS APA to share the message against stigma more widely and reach those who need our advocacy the most.
If your organisation would like to become an ally of our campaign email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHS APA conference
This year's conference is titled, "Tackling Stigma in Action: Visibility, Education and Language", and will be held on the 8th of November. Register your free place now!
Following on from our 2021 conference which focused on spotlighting the problem of stigma and its impact on people with addiction, our 2022 conference aims to put strategies for tackling stigma into real action, both as individuals and across our sector.
In case you missed out on last year's conference and want to watch the fantastic talks from speakers including Professor Dame Carol Black, Dr Ed Day, Gord Garner and Sohan Sahota, you can do so via the conference page. Simply click 'watch again' on the sessions you'd like to view. The presenter slides are also able to download now via our blog.
"An increase in funding is necessary and represents a chance to reduce the stigma faced by those with addiction."
- Danny Hames, Chair