5 Organizations Removing Stigma And Sparking Public Discourse
It's challenging enough to deal with mental and physical health concerns, but it becomes even more of a struggle when you have to negotiate the social stigmas that often come with them. Fortunately, there are numerous organizations working to combat these stigmas and educate people about the realities behind the misconceptions. The groups included here are committed to supporting those facing infertility, HIV/AIDS, and depression, among other things, all while raising public awareness so that such issues can stop being a source of shame. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
5 Groups Raising Awareness and Erasing Stigma
|RESOLVE, host of National Infertility Awareness Week||Ensure that all people challenged in their family-building journey reach resolution through being empowered by knowledge, supported by community, united by advocacy, and inspired to act|
|Casey House||Empower the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS through client-driven care achieved through deliberate inclusivity, unequivocal compassion, and mindful collaboration|
|AFRIpads||Help women and girls break the barriers that menstruation creates in their lives and help them rise to their full potential|
|The STI Project||Achieve modern-day STI prevention by eradicating the stigma surrounding STIs, facilitating and encouraging awareness, education, and acceptance through story-telling and resource recommendations|
|The Speedy Foundation||Prevent suicide, support mental health education, and promote conversations to end stigma|
Breaking HIV Stigma at Casey House's Pop-Up Spa
U.S. Mental Health Facts
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34
- The average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years
- People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population
- 19.3% of U.S. adults with mental illness also experienced a substance use disorder in 2018
- The rate of unemployment is higher among U.S. adults who have mental illness (5.8%) compared to those who do not (3.6%)
- 41% of the people with mental disorders receive professional health care or other services
- Mental illness is associated with lower use of medical care, reduced adherence to treatment therapies for chronic diseases and higher risks of adverse health outcomes
- Up to 25% of primary care patients suffer from depression, but primary care doctors identify only 31% of these patients
- 4% of young adults reported forgoing mental health care in the past year, despite self-reported mental health needs
- Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44
- Women are nearly twice as likely to suffer from major depression than men
- Four times as many men than women commit suicide
- Suicidal ideation among adults increased from 3.77% in 2012 to 4.19% in 2017
- The proportion of youth with private insurance that did not cover mental or emotional difficulties went from 4.6% in 2012 to 8.1% in 2017
- 8.4% of children aged 6 to 17 have been diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression
The AFRIpads Solution to Menstrual Barriers
Mental and physical health conditions are an inescapable reality of life. Sadly, coming to terms with something like a medical diagnosis can prove to be a difficult process, especially when factoring in the role of social stigma. Thankfully, there are a number of organizations helping individuals tackle these tough issues. If you are interested in learning more about their work, then here are, in no particular order, five groups committed to increasing awareness and conversation about different health topics.
Coming in at #1 is National Infertility Awareness Week, which is overseen by a nonprofit called RESOLVE. Established in 1974, this patient advocacy organization provides people struggling with infertility access to care, support, and education in over 200 communities. In addition to these services, RESOLVE engages in various advocacy efforts, in particular working to increase insurance coverage and giving individuals the opportunity to lobby Congress.
In 1989, RESOLVE launched National Infertility Awareness Week to improve public knowledge of infertility, empower those struggling to build a family, and educate legislators. Each year, NIAW invites people to share their personal experiences with the condition. It also encourages individuals to host their own "Walks of Hope," which are fundraising events that combine exercise and community. Those who are interested in getting involved with this group can host an event, make a donation online, or share information about it on social media.
In 1989, RESOLVE launched National Infertility Awareness Week to improve public knowledge of infertility, empower those struggling to build a family, and educate legislators.
In the #2 spot is Casey House. Founded in 1988, this Toronto-based organization is Canada's first and only stand-alone hospital for people with HIV/AIDS. With a history stressing inclusivity and dignity, Casey House continues to offer non-judgmental services, including an inpatient program and a community care program. It keeps active in the community, providing skilled nursing at outreach clinics in partnership with other groups. In the past, some of these partners have included St. Michael's Hospital and Prisoners' HIV/AIDS Support Action Network.
In addition to providing medical services, Casey House engages in research on topics such as HIV and aging and client engagement. It maintains an educational component too, working to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS: in the past, it has teamed up with the Rekai Centres to develop a video teaching series for those employed in long-term care. If you are interested in getting involved with Casey House, consider attending one of its events, signing up to become a volunteer, or making a donation.
At #3 is AFRIpads. Based in Uganda and with sales offices in Kenya and Malawi, this organization is a social enterprise with a focus on reusable sanitary pads. With a mission to empower women and girls through business and innovation, AFRIpads strives to break down the barriers that stand between female youth and education. To do so, it sells cost-effective and eco-friendly menstrual pads, access to which improves education, employment, and hygiene outcomes. As of 2020, its products and educational efforts have reached more than 3.5 million girls and women worldwide.
Based in Uganda and with sales offices in Kenya and Malawi, this organization is a social enterprise with a focus on reusable sanitary pads.
AFRIpads takes its women-focused mission to heart, not only in terms of the product it makes, but also in terms of its manufacturing staff, 90% of whom is female. To keep its followers up to date, the organization maintains its own blog, with past posts covering topics like Menstrual Hygiene Month and World Refugee Day. In recognition of its work, AFRIpads has received coverage in numerous publications, such as "Refinery29," "The Irish Times," and "Forbes." Those who wish to show their support for this enterprise can sign up to receive its newsletter or follow its social media accounts.
Coming in at #4 is The STI Project. Founded in 2012 by Jenelle Marie Pierce, this organization works to reduce the stigma surrounding sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Through a mix of education, storytelling, and awareness, it strives to reclaim STI narratives and help people make informed decisions about their sex lives. It serves as a compendium of resources for online visitors from around the world, and each month, it receives more than 200,000 views.
The STI Project has collected a wealth of information on sexually transmitted infections. Visitors can, for example, access resources on testing, prevention, hotlines, and support groups. The website also has a blog section, featuring interviews and official contributions from doctors, a sexologist, and a sexual health educator. If you are interested in learning more about The STI Project, you can check out its website or consider following one of its accounts on social media.
Visitors can, for example, access resources on testing, prevention, hotlines, and support groups.
Last but not least, at #5 is The Speedy Foundation. This organization was founded in honor of Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, a three-time Olympic skier who took his own life in July of 2011 after battling depression and addiction. A nonprofit based in Boise, Idaho, it works to prevent suicide, promote mental health education, and stimulate discussion that reduces stigma.
With its "advocate-conversate-educate" philosophy, The Speedy Foundation takes a multi-faceted approach to its mission. On the advocacy front, it has partnered with a number of other organizations, such as the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Summit County Mental Wellness Alliance, and United Way of Treasure Valley. It helped establish the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline, and it further encourages conversation through specific campaigns and screenings. Those who want to get involved with this foundation can look into making a donation, attending an event, or signing up to volunteer.