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Paramedic Nat

A Blog About a Paramedic's Mental Health Journey

Date

January 15, 2020

Make Addiction Get-Well Cards In The Classroom And Breakdown Stigma

People battling addiction deserve get-well cards too!

The #addictiongetwellcards call-to-action is dedicated to changing the way we look at addiction. Some see addiction as a choice and that causes many people battling addiction to be abandoned by family and friends, and feel isolated from their community. Some people believe that these individuals can “just stop”! That is not the case. Addiction is a disease with deeply rooted causes and requires treatment like any other disease.

As a recovering addict myself I am friends with many other recovering addicts, and I have seen the hurt and confusion in so many people’s eyes when they are made to feel less than other members of society because they battle addiction. Some people roll their eyes and act disgusted when they see someone who is living on the streets or not able to work or care for their family because they are consumed by the hell of this disease. Everyone deserves treatment for addiction, but we are still in need of government funding to provide this for everyone – Ontario’s Bill 116 is a great start to this effort! In the meantime, everyone battling addiction deserves a get-well card.

Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman and I with our addiction get-well cards

All you need is some craft supplies and a desire to open up the dialogue about addiction in your classroom to participate in this mission! Sharing experiences and beliefs will breakdown the walls of addiction stigma.

Barrie Fire Fighters making addiction get-well cards

After you make the cards, deliver them to your local detox centre, addiction treatment centre or hospital mental health department. You will truly help people know that they are worthy of wellness too! Their card may be the ONLY piece of support they receive from the community. You can save a life and change the way our children view addiction by participating in this simple activity.

Add the hashtag #addictiongetwellcards to your social media posts about this activity. Spread the word! The more cards the better! Thank you.

Addiction Crisis – What can YOU do?

Lots of people ask me what they can do to help with the opioid and addiction crisis? They feel like it is too big of a problem for them to make a positive impact on. They see and share the pictures of needles on our city streets and say that not enough is being done … and then do nothing themselves. I totally feel their frustration. And I believe that education is the key to empowerment and change.

Information you may not have yet:

Big changes are happening at the city level to address this crisis – many of which are behind the scenes at this time; and some will forever be behind the scenes for confidentiality reasons. Big changes take time, money, resources, policy changes, government and service buy-in, innovation, and … many actions to occur.

But small changes ALSO lead to big changes. And YOU can be a part of those small changes. Today. Here are some suggestions:

  • carry naloxone with you;
  • participate in the #addictiongetwellcards initiative;
  • have conversations with your family and friends about mental health and addiction so that stigma breaks down;
  • volunteer at one of the many social service providers in our city;
  • change conversations you may hear that contain incorrect stigma-filled dialogue to conversations of positivity and hope;
  • tell someone who you know is battling with addiction that you care about them and are there for them; and
  • write to your government leaders and share how important you feel legislation is that provides everyone with mental illness and addiction treatment. (For example: Bill 116)

Be PART of the change.

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