Stigma and shame surround many health conditions.
This means people who are sick might not seek help for fear of being treated differently or ostracized. Around the world, health advocacy organizations have tried to tackle this issue, raising awareness about everything from structural racism to HIV/AIDS and endometriosis.
Our health reporters have been studying these campaigns and have curated some of their favourites here.
Organization: The Endometriosis Network of Canada
Health Condition: Endometriosis
Goal: to allow women to share their stories and raise awareness with policymakers and establish a Canadian action plan for endometriosis.
Why I chose this campaign: On average, it takes five years for Canadian women to receive a diagnosis as endometriosis is often dismissed as “normal” period pain. I chose EndoAct because it’s sharing the stories of women with endometriosis with policymakers to make concrete change in how the condition is diagnosed and perceived.
Reporter Kate Mackenzie
Campaign: Elephant in the Room
Organization: Mood Disorders Society of Canada
Health Condition: Mood Disorders and Mental Health
Goal: to open up the conversation surrounding mental health and create safe spaces where individuals will not be judged.
Why I chose this campaign: Mental health touches everyone at some point in their lives, whether it be within themselves or through someone they know. It can be hard for someone struggling with their mental health to feel comfortable talking about their situation, especially in a school or workplace environment.
Reporter Lauryn Heintz
Campaign: Creating a Climate for Change (#ItStartsWithMe)
Organization: The BC First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)
Health Condition: Structural or institutional racism
Goal: Implementation of culturally safe health services committed to responsible, equitable and systemic change.
Why I chose this campaign: The campaign aims to address and remove stigma, racism and discrimination pervasive in the healthcare system. The FNHA reports Status First Nations in B.C. are living 7.5 fewer years than non-Aboriginal residents in the province and that 42 per cent of Aboriginal people in Canada experience racism.
Reporter Floyd Black Horse
Campaign: FIX: Heartbreak and Hope Inside our Opioid Crisis Exhibit
Organization: Indiana State Museum
Health Condition: Opioid Overdoses
Goal: Reduce the stigma surrounding opioid use disorder through accurate information, interactive artwork, personal stories from people affected and show that recovery is possible.
Why I chose this campaign: Those with opioid use disorder come from all walks of life. The more we educate ourselves and others on the science behind addiction the easier it will become for those who are struggling to come forward and get help.
Reporter Michelle Huynh
Campaign: Movember Moustache Growing
Organization: Movember Canada
Health Condition: Men’s health
Goal: shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach men.
Why I chose this campaign: I identify with this campaign and wanted to learn more about it, while raising awareness about men’s health issues.
Reporter Lee Reed
Health Condition: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Organization: National Educational Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder
Goal: To reduce the stigma surrounding BPD, raise awareness of its characteristics, and to help those with BPD and their families by directing them to resources and trained psychiatrists. Additionally, the campaign aims to give those diagnosed with BPD hope through different treatment options.
Why I chose this campaign: On the journey to figure out my own brain, I have researched many different personality and mood disorders. BPD is so negatively portrayed in the media, and those with this illness do not deserve the stigma that comes alongside the disorder.
Reporter Bailey Gingras-Hamilton
Organization: The Gay Men’s Health Project
Health Condition: HIV/AIDS
Goal: End HIV-related stigma, Eradicate new infections among gay men, ensure gay men in London have access to information and support to enable them to make the best health choices for themselves.
Reporter Leonie Fairhurst