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Health sciences centre launching anti-stigma campaign

By CJ Goater Mar 26, 2024 | 5:46 PM

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The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is launching an anti-stigma campaign designed to bring awareness to the stigma associated with substance use and addiction.

“All individuals with addictions and substance use disorder deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. This campaign will help bring awareness to the negative stereotypes and barriers created by stigmatization,” said the Vice President of Patient Experience Adam Vinet.

The campaign is being launched on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. During this time project members will be visiting in-patient units to educate on ways to reduce stigma while providing an opportunity to sign the pledge.

The project will also include educational videos and posters as learning tools for staff, and campaign initiatives will continue throughout the year.

“Having faced two decades of stigma, I’ve seen its harm up close. But through my journey, I’ve learned a powerful truth: no one is beyond help, and everyone deserves compassion,” said Harm Reduction Support Worker with NorWest Community Health Centres, Kyle Arnold.

“Stigma thrives in silence, but it’s time to speak out. This campaign is not just about raising awareness; it’s about saving lives. Together, let’s break the chains of stigma, because every person, every story, deserves to be heard and valued.”

According to the Health Sciences Centre Individuals in Northwestern Ontario are at three to four times higher risk for hospital stays for self-harm caused by substance use than the average of many areas in Southern Ontario. The suicide rate in Northwestern Ontario is also 2.75 times higher than in the rest of the province.

This comes as part of the patient experience pillar of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s Strategic Plan 2026.