BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Stop Judging. Start Healing. That's the message behind a new statewide campaign from The Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Department of Mental Health.
The campaign is aimed at changing the way we talk about people who have mental health illness, substance and opioid use disorders, HIV and Hepatitis C.
Doctors said the language we often use can be hurtful and harming to the people we care about.
"People with these conditions often fear that others are blaming or judging them," State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. "These conditions are manageable, and so it is important for everyone to understand that irrational fear creates barriers to people seeking and receiving care. Compassion helps break these barriers. Everyone deserves dignity, compassion and support."
The campaign encourages the public to have open conversations to break the cycle of stigma by sharing kindness and understanding.
“The stigma that surrounds mental illness and substance use disorder is the number one barrier to treatment and recovery. We must learn how to speak in positive terms, support our friends and family, and offer appropriate resources to people who need our help,” said Commissioner Lynn Beshear, Alabama Department of Mental Health.