Activity 1: Reducing stigma in the system of care

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Topic Progress:


The readings in this lesson continue to explore health-related stigma and discrimination, and their potential impacts on the kind of care provided. These readings provide additional background knowledge on which you can build. The first paper by Van Brakel (2006) is included because it does a good job in defining broad health-related stigma. It is fairly long and points out that some of the stigma associated with mental illness is similar to other chronic health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, leprosy, tuberculosis, and epilepsy. This article provides a good context for all health-related stigma.

The next reading is a BC Government website that includes many references to the impact of stigma on care, and recommendations for its mitigation in British Columbia.

Then, we take another look at the systematic review we considered in the last lesson. Finally, the Buchman and Reiner (2009) article is an interesting commentary by two researchers from the University of British Columbia. It is brief, but they make some interesting points and provide references for some important papers.


  1. Read: Van Brakel, W.H. (2006). Measuring health-related stigma—A literature review. Psychology Health Medicine, 11, 307–334. (available through TRU Library)
  2. Review: Healthy Minds, Healthy People: A Ten-Year Plan to address Mental Health and Substance Use in British Columbia. (2010).
  3. Re-review: Livingston, J., Milne, T., Fang, M. L., & Amari, E. (2012). The effectiveness of interventions for reducing stigma related to substance use disorders: A systematic review. Addiction, 107(1), 39–50. (available through TRU Library)
  4. Read: Buchman, D., & Reiner, P. (2009) Stigma and addiction: Being and becoming. American Journal of Bioethics-Neuroscience, 9(9), 18–19. (available through TRU Library)
  5. Many of you will be trying to influence the broader system of care in your work. If you had the ability to influence decision makers, what are some of the factors you would want to see integrated into the system to reduce the impact of stigma? Take the time to post your thoughts to the discussion area entitled “Reducing the Impact of Stigma.” You may want to read what others have said, and comment or ask questions.