The Impact of Language – Stigma, Policy & Practice

The Impact of Language on Behavioral Health

Stigma, Policy and Practice

By Robert Ashford

The language used to discuss and describe mental health and substance use has changed dramatically over the last 100 years. Modern and postmodern society has transcended labels such as teetotaler, derelict, crazy, and psycho, though iterations of these negatively associated phrases remain. Changing linguistic trends within the mental health and substance use disorder fields have been propelled forward by the inclusion of concepts such as person-first language; first by mental health advocates, and later co-opted by advocates within the substance use disorder space. Similarly, medical professionals are driving change towards the use of more clinically appropriate language (e.g. substance use disorders, rather than substance dependence and abuse), which is having both positive and negative impacts.

Download the full White Paper at Recovery Language

What does your recovery look like to you?

This is a question we need to be approaching all of our clients with first and foremost. Posing this question allows us to understand them better, identify where they’re at, and demonstrate genuine curiosity and commitment to the person as an individual. Isn’t that what we’re striving for as coaches?

When a person thinks of the word recovery, to each of us the word brings a different meaning; a different outlook. As a society, while treatment certainly has its place and helps initiate recovery, treatment alone does not sustain recovery. With the shortage of “beds” and insurance coverage, we in the recovery coaching community would best serve others by soliciting from our recoverees what recovery looks like from their lens. Maybe they’re horrified by the word; maybe they’re having a hard time with acceptance; maybe we need to remove that barrier before we can proceed with forward movement?

As Phil Valentine suggest in his blog post, by soliciting the information from the individual we’re meeting them where they are at and not imposing societal expectations, beliefs, or judgements on them; we’re creating a relationship of trust (a friend).

 

To read Phil Valentines’ blog post click here.

Recovery Coach Training reaches beyond the surface

My volunteer work with the Pregnancy Resource Center has brought some clients in need of more than just pregnancy, parenting issues. I am so blessed to have had the training this past winter/spring giving me better insight in how to be a resource, encourager.

God has blessed us all with love and your continued training and support.

God’s grace and blessings, as always –

Helen

TV MEDIA Exploiting Addicts for Ratings-STAND UP and Advocae

Dear Friend,

Words have power: To marginalize. To discriminate. To dehumanize.

It took nearly fives years into my recovery to learn that language has the power to kill when it comes to addiction. And few words do more harm to those suffering from addiction and their families than the word: junkie.

This term is an insulting slur. It stigmatizes, dehumanizes, and disenfranchises millions of people struggling with a legitimate medical issue. As a documentary filmmaker myself, I was appalled when I read VICELAND’s announcement about their new documentary series set to premiere during National Recovery Month.

They’re calling it American Junkie.

What’s even more head-scratching is how the show’s creator and TV Executive describe what they are attempting to do:

“This show takes the current drug crisis beyond headlines and statistics and makes it human.” – VP of Current Programming and Executive Producer Patrick Moses

“Addiction is a faceless disease that does not discriminate.” – Filmmaker Pat McGee

So they want the show to “humanize” and “not discriminate”? But in a sleazy attempt for a ratings bump, they opted to use this degrading term for the most critical element of the show, the title? This will produce the exact opposite effect of their stated intentions.

We need to act fast and demand the producers of this program change the title before it hits the airwaves next month. To do that, we’re asking you to take a few simple steps today:

1. Please email a note to Patrick Moses, Vice’s Executive Producer, telling him how using this term in the show title will further marginalize an already discriminated group of people, ultimately leading to more incarceration and death for those with a preventable and treatable health problem.

2. Please tweet to Viceland at their handle @viceland urging them to change the title of this show. You can tweet something like I did:

No @viceland @mrpatrickmoses, don’t call me a junkie, I am a PERSON who once struggled with addiction. You will have blood on your hands from the millions #FacingAddiction if you don’t change the title of “American Junkie” immediately! #WordsHavePower

We have seen before when corporate profit interests create immoral actions that directly impact those struggling with addiction. We cannot remain silent, and allow a mainstream media series to use this inflammatory word in their show title. If we want to open up desperately needed healthcare resources, change the public response to this crisis, and save more lives, the most significant fight we have every day is negative public perception.

I hope you will speak out with me today.

With warm regards,

Greg Williams

Executive Vice President, Facing Addiction with NCADD

 

Donate Now

 

Facing Addiction with NCADD is a national non-profit organization dedicated to unifying the voice of the more than 45 million Americans and their families directly impacted by addiction.

FacingAddiction.org | info@facingaddiction.org
100 Mill Plain Road, 3rd Floor Danbury, CT 06811

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NCPRSS Code of Ethics

Ethics is essential in Peer Recovery Support, and the lines are not as black and white as the boundaries in clinical roles – which have a clearly defined code of ethics. Please take a glance at the National Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist Code of Ethics I found on the NAADAC website.

 

Preamble:

The NAADAC/NCC AP National Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist (NCPRSS) Code of Ethics outlines basic values and principles of peer recovery support practice. This Code serves as a guide for – responsibility and ethical standards for NCC AP National Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialists. Peer Recovery Support Specialists have a responsibility to help persons in recovery achieve their personal recovery goals by promoting self-determination, personal responsibility, and the empowerment inherent in self-directed recovery. Peer Recovery Support Specialists shall maintain high standards of personal conduct, and conduct themselves in a manner that supports their own recovery. Peer Recovery Support Specialists shall serve as advocates for the people they serve. Peer Recovery Support Specialists shall not perform services outside of the boundaries and scope of their expertise, shall be aware of the limits of their training and capabilities, and shall collaborate with other professionals and Recovery Support Specialists to best meet the needs of the person(s) served. Peer Recovery Support Specialists shall preserve an objective and ethical relationship at all times. This credential does not endorse, suggest or intent that a Peer Recovery Support Specialist will serve independently. The Peer Recovery Support Specialist shall only work under supervision.

Conduct:

As a Peer Recovery Support Specialist, I will:

1. Agree to maintain a minimum of two (2) clinical supervision sessions per month totally at least 2 hours of documented clinical supervision.

2. Accurately identify my qualifications, expertise, and certifications to all whom I serve and to the public.

3. Conduct myself in accordance with the NCC AP NCPRSS Code of Ethics.

4. Make public statements or comments that are true and reflect current and accurate information.

5. Remain free from any substances that affect my ability and capacity to perform my duties as a Peer Recovery Support Specialist.

6. Recognize personal issues, behaviors, or conditions that may impact my performance as a NCPRSS.

7. Maintain regular supervision and ongoing support so I have a person with whom I can address challenging personal issues, behaviors, or conditions that may negatively effect my own recovery. I understand that misconduct may result in the suspension of my credentials.

8. Respect and acknowledge the professional efforts and contributions of others and not declare or imply credit as my own. If involved in research, I shall give credit to those who contribute to the research.

9. Maintain required documentation for and in all client records as required by my agency or the Federal requirements making certain that records are documented honestly and stored securely. Agency disposal of records policies shall be adhered to.

10. Protect the privacy and confidentiality of persons served in adherence with Federal Confidentiality, HIPAA laws, local jurisdiction and state laws and regulations. This includes electronic privacy standards (Social Media, Texting, Video Conferencing etc).

11. Use client contact information in accordance with agency policy.

12. Not to create my own private practice.

Conflicts of Interest:

As a Peer Recovery Support Specialist, I will:

13. Reveal any perceived conflict of interest immediately to my professional supervisor and remove myself from the peer recovery support specialist relationship as required.

14. Disclose any existing or pre-existing professional, social, or business relationships with person(s) served. I shall determine, in consultation with my professional supervisor, whether existing or pre-existing relationships interfere with my ability to provide peer support services person(s) served.

15. Inform clients of costs of services as established by the agency for which I am employed and not charge person served beyond fees established.

16. I will not sponsor individuals with whom I have previously served or currently serve as a Peer Recovery Support Specialist.

Support Specialist/Client Relationship:

As a Peer Recovery Support Specialist, I will:

17. Clearly explain my role and responsibilities to those serve.

18. Terminate the relationship with a person(s) served when services appear no longer of benefit and to respect the rights of the person served to terminate services at his/her request.

19. Request a change in my role as a NCPRSS with a person being served if the person served requests a change.

20. Not engage in sexual activities or personal relationships with persons served in my role as a NCPRSS, or members of the immediate family of person(s) served.

21. Set clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries with all persons served.

22. If at any point I feel I am unable to meet any of these requirements, I will immediately cease performance as a Peer Recovery Support Specialist and seek professional assistance.

What do you think? I welcome your comments to gingerross23@gmail.com

Download a copy here https://www.naadac.org/ncprss-code-of-ethics