COVID-19 and Stigma 

Stigma Increases Due To Fear During COVID-19

We don’t understand the pandemic. This can lead to discrimination against:

  • People confusing withdrawal from drug use with Covid-19 symptoms
  • People who have the virus and their families
  • People from countries where the virus originated
  • People who have travelled recently
  • People who have had contact with someone who has the virus
  • Homeless people or those with substance use issues because they are on the street or moving from place to place

Tips For Reducing Stigma During COVID-19

  • Use caution with social media and seek credible sources of COVID-19 information (World Health Organization, Thunderbird, Assembly of First Nations) to raise awareness, not fear.
  • Support the right to health of people who use drugs, rather than focusing on criminalization of people who use drugs
  • Support people and respect their privacy
  • Try to focus on the positive
  • Demonstrate caring behaviour

Draw From Our Strengths During COVID-19

We must draw from our strengths, cultural ways of knowing, values and practices to help reduce stigma against those who fall ill with COVID-19.

The First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum points to All My Relations as we come together to support one another, and our communities – even if we can’t do that physically, we can do it through virtual means or prayer. (Thunderbird, 2015)

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