Education Fights Stigma
The Canadian Liver Foundation is launching one of our biggest online campaigns yet, and we want you to get involved today. This campaign is focused on education and on helping you take concrete actions to fight stigma and to build healthier communities. What kind of actions? Keep reading to find out!
The mention of liver disease can carry with it many preconceived ideas and beliefs. With more than 100 different liver diseases and a vast range of causes, it’s no wonder that liver disease has been misunderstood and wrapped up with stigma which, in turn, can lead to a dangerous spread of misinformation, incorrect assumptions, judgments, and fears.
The reality is that liver disease is on the rise in Canada. It is estimated that 1 in 4 Canadians may be affected by liver disease, and the most common liver diseases are non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and Hepatitis C. These diseases can, unfortunately, become a reality for anyone, regardless of their lifestyle, and the stigma around them can sometimes be as difficult to live with as the disease itself.
What does stigma look like?
One way to define stigma is “the act of shaming somebody and even treating them differently because of something like their health status.” It is a form of negative stereotyping. And it hurts.
Some liver diseases are linked to things like drug use, alcohol use, or being overweight. And unfortunately, some people have negative views and stereotypes about each of these. Many people with a liver disease feel the impact of these stereotypes whether or not they drink, use drugs, or are overweight. Regardless, nobody deserves to be stigmatized or shamed.
We often hear from members of our community, sharing things like, “I always feel the need to tell people that I barely drink alcohol they assume that’s how I ended up with a liver disease, and I don’t want to be judged,” or “I have used intravenous drugs in my lifetime, and I know that makes some people uncomfortable. Even doctors and nurses treat me differently, so I never want to visit the clinic.” We hear that people sometimes hide their diagnosis to avoid judgment and impacting their relationships and livelihood. Shame can become so big that it becomes a barrier to accessing treatment, prevention, and support.
How can I change the conversation?
The Canadian Liver Foundation is committed to reshaping the conversation around liver disease and dismantling this stigma.
That’s why we’re calling on you to visit www.actionsagainststigma.com, where you can sign up to receive a series of emails with actions that you can take to help us make this important change. Once per week, we will email you a new action–actions that range from signing a petition to spreading awareness and education throughout your community.
Nothing positive comes from stigma, and we need your help to build awareness, and influence meaningful change.