There are many ways to declare an official Stigma-Free Zone in schools, organizations/businesses and geographical spaces. Our reach is expanding extensively as we inspire more people to commit to the awareness and understanding of the various stigmas, while maintaining a safe space where people are accepting of themselves and others.
Stigma-Free Champions are individuals who lead and promote ongoing activities to have their school, business/organization or geographical area receive the honor of working towards a stigma-free zone designation, which is a strong commitment that preserves a stigma-free culture.
Stigma-Free Zone School Designations
Secondary schools are given a Stigma-Free Zone Toolkit to do the following:
- Secondary Schools ranging from grades 8-12 become a Stigma-Free Zone by committing to delivering the Stigma-Free Zone Superheroes Presentations program that reaches every student at the school for the first year. Thereafter, the school commits to hosting presentations for the entire school annually OR to the new slate of students attending the school each year. Presenters share their personal story and bring awareness on the topic of stigmas with a focus on mental health and reaching out for help. Presentations are given in an assembly style manner in order to reach every student and educate them about the stigma-free zone movement in their school.
- School presentations encourage students take the Stigma-Free Pledge and Stigma-Free Test online via www.stigmafreezone.com.
- Schools display a Stigma-Free Zone poster(s) that outlines a call to ‘action’ on how to live ‘stigma-free’ in the counseling office and other chosen areas of the school.
- Schools receive a select number of stigma-free zone declaration plaques signed by the Principal to be showcased in entrance ways and school offices that identify the school’s commitment to live stigma-free and to bring students and visitors to www.stigmafreezone.com to learn more about the stigma-free zone movement and inform them how to be an active part of promoting a stigma-free culture at their school.
- The Society provides Stigma-Free Zone window decals to place around the school to identify the space as fully designated, which reminds and encourages students to live stigma-free and to visit our website for more information.
- The school designates one or more Stigma-Free Champion(s) to lead and cultivate the stigma-free zone initiative at their school.
- Upon receiving the entire Stigma-Free Zone toolkit and designation, the Stigma-Free Zone Champion commits to working with the Stigma-Free Zone Task Force on an ongoing basis to perform activities at the school that are meaningful, thoughtful and tailored to their respective school to maintain the Stigma-Free Zone designation.
Stigma-Free Zone Businesses/Organizations’ Designations
Businesses/Organizations are given a Stigma-Free Zone Toolkit to do the following:
- The Stigma-Free Society offers community presentations to all workplaces and various organizations. A first-step towards a stigma-free zone designation is to host a presentation to the business/organization’s staff. However, a presentation is not always a fit for all organizations, so we offer additional avenues to designating the space as a stigma-free zone such as a webinar.
- The Stigma-Free Society offers an ongoing stigma-free zone designation program that encourages staff within organizations to live stigma-free. We offer a framed poster(s) for the space once all employees take the stigma-free pledge and stigma-free test on our website. Applying these online tools demonstrates an ongoing commitment to a stigma-free culture.
- Managers designate a Stigma-Free Champion within the organization to distribute stigma-free zone content via our monthly “Stigma-Free Check-ins” with all staff that only requires 5 minutes of each person’s time per month. Organizations are expected to distribute the Society’s selected stigma-free media content for these check-ins to maintain the stigma-free designation. There are various media pieces that will be shared in a simple format of a blog, brief video clip, article, among additional mediums that encourage all people to maintain their stigma-free zone.
- Stigma-free zone designations are maintained on an annual basis. The Society explores various ways with organizations moving forward to encourage and maintain their stigma-free spaces. We are open to your creative thoughts and opinions on how best a stigma-free zone will develop in your organization.
Stigma-Free Zone Geographical Areas – Provincial Ridings
Community Champions are offered a Stigma-Free Zone Toolkit to do the following:
- Canadian based provincial ridings are eligible to become a stigma-free zone based on a long-term demonstrated commitment by the Stigma-Free Community Champion that will lead to a stigma-free zone designation in their geographical area.
- The Stigma-Free Community Champion is ideally a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) or another community leader as supported by the MLA.
- Community Champions host a stigma-free event such as a community presentation and have one of the Society’s speakers share their personal journey about facing great obstacles in the face of stigma, whilst promoting a stigma-free culture. The Stigma-Free Community Champion invites leaders in the area such as school district/school staff, politicians from all levels of government, business owners and the general public. All people are invited by the Community Champion to an event to learn about the Community Champion’s commitment to having their riding become a stigma-free zone in future.
- The community event offers the opportunity to have all participants take the stigma-free pledge and stigma-free test online to demonstrate their commitment and they also share this valuable information with their staff and chosen organizations.
- The Stigma-Free Community Champion partners with the Stigma-Free Task Force and distributes the monthly or quarterly “Stigma-Free Check-ins” to their mailing list to working towards having the geographical space designated as a stigma-free zone. Organizations are expected to distribute the Society’s selected and brief stigma-free media content for these check-ins at a minimum of four times per year to progress toward the stigma-free zone designation. These various media pieces that will come in a simple format such as a blog, brief video clip, article, among additional mediums that promote a stigma-free culture in their geographical area.
- The community event offers a platform for the Stigma-Free Community Champion to announce and receive the honor of being given a Stigma-Free Zone plaque at the event that highlights that the riding is in progress and undergoing activities to have the riding designated as a stigma-free zone in future. The MLA then displays their chosen amount of stigma-free zone materials such as plaques, poster(s) and/or window decals to display at the constituency office, which promotes the stigma-free zone culture.
- Upon receiving the stigma-free zone materials, the Community Champions commits to working with the Stigma-Free Zone Task Force upon receiving the honor of undertaking activities that are meaningful, thoughtful and tailored to their respective communities. The Community Champion makes a strong commitment to undertake defined activities in the riding and agrees to report back on their progress on an annual basis at a community event in their riding.
We are open to hearing from you about your thoughts and ideas for designating stigma-free zones as this movement is in its developing stages. We support and encourage you in maintaining a stigma-free zone that promotes awareness, understanding and acceptance. Please feel free to Contact Us and we look forward to your innovative and creative ideas!
How do I maintain a stigma-free zone?
- Actively learn and share the facts about stigma, particularly mental illness;
- Change attitudes and perceptions about those who are affected by stigma;
- Talk openly about personal experiences of stigma to encourage empathy;
- Initiate positive action when friends, family, or the media displays false beliefs and negative stereotypes;
- Offer support to people who are affected by bullying and discrimination; and
- Never label or judge people, ensuring to treat all with respect and dignity.