20 August 2020
Social stigma occurs when fear, anxiety and misinformation about something causes you to associate it with a specific person or group of people. And with fear surrounding COVID-19 in particular, anxiety levels may be higher than usual if you’re misinformed. Education is one of the most important factors in combatting the problem.
Some groups of people who may be experiencing stigma due to the COVID-19 pandemic include:
Stigma commonly takes the form of physical violence, gossip, social rejection and denial of services including, healthcare, education, housing and employment. If someone has already been diagnosed with a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety or stress, social stigma could elevate their symptoms, making it even more difficult for them to cope.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to experience stigma from external influences to be affected by it. The anticipation of how others might perceive you could negatively impact your mental health. For example, if you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and seen others who’ve had the disease being judged or ostracised, you may become anxious that you’ll be treated the same way.
Furthermore, being afraid of social stigma surrounding COVID-19 could also negatively affect your health. How? People may be less likely to seek treatment if they suspect they have been infected when they consider how others have been treated.
These are three things you can do to address the problem – starting today.
1. Don’t Use Labels
To avoid stigma, if you know people who have been affected by COVID-19, it’s important that you separate their identity from the illness. Here are some guidelines:
2. Stick to the Facts
Knowing the facts can help you prevent the spread of fake information and thus prevent stigma.
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the Coronavirus spreads from person to person. It mainly spreads via respiratory droplets, which are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or exhales. This is why the majority of cases occur when there’s close physical contact between people. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests these prevention tips:
3. Don’t Reinforce Stigma
This article is published courtesy of CareWays.