Science has proven that substance use disorder (addiction) is a chronic brain disease that can be managed with medical treatment. It is NOT a moral failing or a character flaw. But still, only 1 in 10 Americans with a substance use disorder receive treatment. Addiction is highly stigmatized, and that stigma is fueling an American public health crisis.
Mental health conditions and suicide are also issues surrounded by stigma. Mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability across the United States, with suicide currently the second leading cause of death of youth ages 15-24, and the tenth leading cause of death for all Americans. However, less than half of the adults in the U.S. who need services and treatment get the help they need, even though most people with mental health issues can be successfully treated.
The isolation, blame, and secrecy that is often encouraged by stigma can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support, and living well. So when we talk about the harmful effects of stigma, and stigmatizing language, it’s not about being sensitive, or politically correct. It’s about treatment, care, and saving lives.
Resources are available locally to assist people with substance use disorder or mental health conditions. If someone in your life needs help, connect them to one of the resources below.
Dial Help: 24/7 Crisis Line, with a Safety Net Program for those who need help finding treatment services. Access crisis services three ways:
Call: 482-HELP (482-4357) or 800-562-7622
Text: 35NEEDS (906-356-3337)
Chat Online: Click the link below to begin your live chat. If you experience a service disruption, please call 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).
Great Lakes Recovery Centers: Inpatient and outpatient substance use disorder treatment
Community Mental Health: Serving individuals who have a chronic or severe mental illness, and have or are expected to experience significant impairment in their day to day functioning