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Letter: Gentle reminder—leave judgment at the door, Squamish

Why society's stigma around addiction and mental health must end.
Amanda Mead.

The Merriam Webster dictionary states that stigma “is a set of negative and unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something.”

Unfortunately, what it doesn’t inform us of is the damage that gets done to one’s soul when on the receiving end of society’s stigmatization of what is acceptable. 

I have personally seen the fear of failure, the self-doubt rise within one’s chest; the “What ifs” and the “I should have done better(s)” written all over the face of someone who was, without a doubt, enough, but society’s expectations of what we should be have robbed us of our internal peace. 

Our community has taken a turn since the opioid crisis was declared in April 2016

We have been dramatically affected by the drug crisis as well as the homelessness crisis falling close behind; in order to fight these battles head on, we need to end the stigma (especially around addiction) and do as my grandfather used to say, “Keep your judgment at the door.”

The truth is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That being said, some opinions should be kept to themselves. 

Words, particularly negative ones, can cut like a knife, even more so when you’re already stigmatized based on your appearance or the environment surrounding you. 

If society states that we cannot judge someone based on their ethnicity or sexual preference, what gives us the right to stigmatize an individual based on their undiagnosed mental health conditions or causes of addiction? 

If we are fighting for an equal, livable community, why are we creating such an unsafe, malicious atmosphere when all of us are known to come together in times of distress? 

Where is that force now? When is the force of this community going to come together to fight these battles like warriors? This crisis is ripping our soldiers from the arms of loved ones, and for what? How about we reveal to this war what it looks like when we stand tall and together as one? 

We, as a community, do not need to lose any more people to this battle; we all deserve a little compassion and a lot of love. #endstigmagivesupport 

Amanda Mead



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