Stress and Stigma

Community care
 
children's mental health

THE ISSUE:
 

There are children experiencing the stress of their parent's unaddressed trauma and subsequent substance use disorder, and society's stigma

There are parent's who have unaddressed trauma and a subsequent substance use disorders who do not have access to adequate healing 
supports, and are exposed to society's stigma.

THE LIVES:

Substance use disorder
  • atleast 1 in 6 Canadain children are exposed to a parent's substance use disorder
  • Parental substance use disorder is stressful, and considered an adverse childhood experience which  increases the risk of additional stress (ACEs).
  • stigma has prevented the creation of adequate supports, and contributes to the re-traumatization of families.
Stigma

THE STIGMA:

Stigma harms not only those who use drugs or alcohol, but also harms their family, including many children. As frontline staff, we may unintentionally project our biases onto families which can prevent their healing. As such, it is important we reflect on our own discomforts, assumptions and reactions when it comes to substance use and addictions.

Stigma is defined as negative attitudes and beliefs about a group of people and includes judging, labeling, isolating, which ultimately leads to discrimination.

​It is often communicated through our body language and tone and may not even be recognized by the person causing it.

Stigma  can be so deeply rooted in our society that it becomes ingrained in institutional policies and practices.

According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, 8/10 Canadians with a substance use disorder say they experienced barriers to recovery and healing, including stigma. This stigma impacts not only the quality of and access to healthcare services, but also impacts the creation of policies and services that dictate treatment accessibility.

Stigma also impacts children who have a parent with an addiction in various ways including: witnessing society's behaviours towards their parents, listening to the language used when speaking of individual's who have an addiction, and through the limited number of supports offered to their families. All of these together, contribute to children internalizing their experiences and emotions, and may prevent them from reaching out for support as they get older. 

Strengthening Canada's Approach to SU & Addiction
People's Shadows_edited_edited_edited.jpg

2 hour training

Starlings Founder Agnes Chen marries her personal experience with the stigma of a parent's addiction to the current literature on stigma.

Starlings
TRAINING:

our communities
opportunity to heal a family's inherited
stigma.

WHAT CAN I DO RIGHT NOW TO HELP #ENDTHESTIGMA ?

Just like a substance use disorder does not happen over night, neither does healing or recovery. Together, we must be able to offer families hope and an invitation to heal, while recognizing the many different paths an individual will take.

1. WATCH THIS VIDEO:









2. BE AN ACTIVE ALLY:

Have a sign in your clinic that states you are an
ally to individuals who use substances or who have a substance use disorder.
Feel free to print and use one of these:












2. HARM REDUCTION:

"Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug and alcohol use. Harm Reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs."

Learn about "harm reduction" here

Some harm reduction suggestions:

1. Get and offer Naloxone: it will save a life


2. Offer information regarding "safely withdrawling from alcohol": it will save a life.

3. Check in with family, particularly children, who are providing care for a loved one with a substance use disorder: it will save a life.



3. HOST A POSTER & OFFER HOPE TO YOUTH:

See our available posters here or email us at info@starlings.ca and request to have a poster or hard copy of our Peer Support Guide (for youth and adults who have been impacted by a parent's substance use and society's stigma of addictions) and our "Parenting in Recovery Guide" for parents with a past or present addiction (both will be available November 2021).

4. HOST A WORKSHOP & OFFER HOPE TO YOUTH:
Check out our offerings here


4. LEARN:
Image by D koi

STIGMA IS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE

"Reducing stigma is key to effectively addressing problematic substance use, and is a critical step in recognizing the fundamental rights and dignity of all Canadians, including those who use substances."


Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Government of Canada, 2018
READ THE REPORT BELOW:

Image by D koi

Substance use stigma prevents the availability of support for parents and their children, from individuals being offered compassion and care, and ultimately, contributes to cycles of stress and trauma in families.

Read the Starling's Community Report below: 

Image by Damian Zaleski

LEARN ABOUT THE STATISTICS AND THE SCIENCE BEHIND SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER, AND ENSURE YOUR LEARNING INCLUDES THE VOICES OF THOSE WITH LIVED EXPERIENCE. 

People's Shadows_edited_edited_edited.jpg

1.5 hour A presentation

Starlings Founder Agnes Chen marries her personal experience with the stigma of a parent's addiction to the current literature on stigma.

our communities
opportunity to heal
a families inherited
stigma.

CHILDREN DO NOT GET A CHOICE IN THE KIND OF HOME ENVIRONMENT THEY ARE RAISED IN, BUT AS A COMMUNITY, WE HAVE A CHOICE IN THE KIND OF COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENT THAT SUPPORTS THEM. Thank you for being a part of our community.


AGNES CHEN, STARLINGS COMMUNITY FOUNDER