Are you a healthcare provider or frontline clinician? Do you feel that you and your patients would benefit if you had more training and education about caring for people with mental illness including addiction? If you answered yes, you are not alone. That is why we have created Understanding Stigma. Understanding Stigma is a free online course adapted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada from a workshop created by the Central Local Health Integration Network. The course is designed to help healthcare providers and frontline clinicians develop strategies to improve patient–provider interactions and overall care for people with mental illness including addiction.
The stigmatization of people living with mental illness including addiction is all too common in Canada, including within healthcare environments. People with lived experiences of mental illness including addiction often report feeling devalued, dismissed and dehumanized by many of the healthcare professionals with whom they come into contact. Research with healthcare providers suggests that stigma can manifest in subtle and largely unintended ways. Specifically, stigma can be related to a lack of skills and confidence when working with patients with mental illness including addiction, a lack awareness of one’s own prejudices and an incomplete understanding of how important healthcare providers are in the process of recovery (Knaak & Patten, 2016).
The Understanding Stigma online course was developed for healthcare professionals and other frontline clinicians; its purpose is to examine stigmatizing attitudes and behaviours through various instructional activities. The course consists of three modules, which focus on raising awareness, the impacts of stigma, and challenging stigma and discrimination. The scenarios, interactive questions, personal stories and quizzes are intended to help change the attitudes and behaviours of healthcare providers toward people seeking help, and to address attitudes that may result in stigma toward friends, family, colleagues and ourselves.
- Explain stigma and its causes, and identify what stigma looks like in the healthcare setting.
- Describe the impact of stigma on people with lived experience and why it is important for people with lived experiences to share their stories.
- Describe the relationship between stigma, mental illness and addiction.
- Identify common misperceptions about mental illness and addiction.
- Describe how mental illness and addiction affect the other and how stigma can affect diagnosis and access to services.
- Describe what is being done to address stigma in healthcare environments and what healthcare providers can do to make a difference.
- Identify ways to reduce stigma, prejudice and discrimination.
- Describe how applying recovery-based and trauma-informed awareness in your approach to care challenges stigma.
- Identify strategies to decrease stigmatizing language use and explain how to incorporate respectful language in verbal and written language.
Online - self-directed