structural stigma iconWhat is the issue?

Structural stigma is especially damaging ꟷ and dangerous ꟷ for persons with lived and living experience of mental health problems and illnesses and/or substance use. While it often occurs unknowingly (through implicit cognitive biases), it expresses the inequities embedded in the fabric of our social institutions, organizations, and our shared ways of thinking and acting.

In health care, structural stigma occurs when laws, policies, and practices result in the unfair treatment of people with lived and experience. Such unfairness leads to inequitable access and a lower quality of care for these individuals, whether their concerns relate to physical health, mental health, and/or substance use.


What are we doing?

In 2019, we launched a multi-year project to better understand the problem of mental health- and substance use-related structural stigma in health-care contexts. Its overarching objective: to identify gaps and reduce stigma, both at policy, practice, and system levels and within the organizational culture of health care.


What can you do?

Read our progress report to catch up on the latest. You can also deepen your knowledge with our key research, personal experience stories, prototypes, and real-world examples:

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2020

  • A comprehensive literature review, with key recommendations and suggested approaches
  • A qualitative research project using focus groups consisting of people with lived and living experience, to identify key priorities and areas for structural change within the health-care system
  • An environmental scan to help guide the development of new measurement and audit tools for structural stigma
  • Read the summary of our main findings on structural stigma in our Framework for Action.
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2021                                                                                   ** NEW **

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