Health stigma hurts. Every day, millions of men, women and children feel its impact. Those living with a health condition or disability cope daily with the challenge and hardship it imposes. And all too often, they face an added burden: people who can’t see past the health condition.
We stigmatize those with a health condition or disability when we look away or awkwardly stare, when we make well-intentioned but inappropriate comments, or when we simply retreat from an uncomfortable encounter. Stigma is communicated in dozens of different ways, all of them saying the same thing: the condition is more important than the person.
The Rude2Respect program is about challenging health stigma. It will create awareness of the many ways stigma is conveyed and help reduce the hurtful, isolating impact it has. It will tell its story in personal, human terms by giving voice to those who have experienced either side of the stigma issue.
Rude2Respect will help all of us learn to see with our hearts.