By Dr. Stephanie Knaak
Journal of Mental Health and Addiction Nursing
Stigmatization towards mental illnesses and addictions is a problem with deep roots and slow solutions. For the last seven years, I have worked closely with the Mental Health Commission of Canada in a research consultant capacity, conducting evaluation projects and other research on how to address this problem, mostly as it pertains to healthcare environments. Through this work, I’ve come to believe that to truly tackle the problem of mental illness and addictions-related stigmatization within healthcare, it needs to be addressed at all levels and throughout all sectors of healthcare. Also, it needs to be understood first and foremost as a structural issue – as something that is embedded into the very fabric and culture of healthcare institutions.