Stigma: A call for action

What is stigma?

Stigma is a term we use often in society, but which can be differently understood and applied to hugely varied issues and circumstances. According to the Anti-Stigma Network, stigma, stated simply, is a set of negative and often unfair beliefs. Stigma can be experienced on a societal, structural and personal level. It is employed largely unconsciously but at times also consciously.

Who is impacted?

Addressing stigma is a key priority in Newcastle. It can impact anyone and everyone and is a barrier to healthcare for a range of health conditions and for those seeking help and support. Furthermore, stigma enables discrimination that ultimately denies people social acceptance. It limits opportunities and increases inequalities.

As well as being a barrier to healthcare, stigma creates barriers to:

  • Education and training and employment opportunities.
  • Housing and engagement in a local community
  • Personal relationships and social interaction
  • A fair justice system
  • A sense of safety
  • Inclusion in faith groups and cultural life
Decorative image depicting notes from a conference held in 2022 in Newcastle about Stigma. It links Stigma to trauma, substance use and domestic abuse.

Further resources