We cannot allow the COVID-19 to serve as a vehicle for racism or xenophobia. Hate crimes against Chinese people have soared in the UK during COVID-19 crisis. Asian people across the U.S and Canada are reporting more racist incidents and hate crimes. Together, we can help avoid discrimination and stigma around coronavirus.
A guide to preventing and addressing social stigma
HOW TO ADDRESS SOCIAL STIGMA
Evidence clearly shows that stigma and fear around communicable diseases hamper the response. What works is building trust in reliable health services and advice, showing empathy with those affected,
understanding the disease itself, and adopting effective, practical measures so people can help keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
How we communicate about COVID-19 is critical in supporting people to take effective action to help combat the disease and to avoid fuelling fear and stigma. An environment needs to be created in which the disease and its impact can be discussed and addressed openly, honestly and effectively.
Here are some tips on how to address and avoid compounding, social stigma:
Do your part:
Spreading the facts: Stigma can be heightened by insufficient knowledge about how the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is transmitted and treated, and how to prevent infection.
• Engaging social influencers such as religious leaders on prompting reflection about people who are stigmatized and how to support them, or respected celebrities to amplify messages that reduce stigma.
• Amplify the voices, stories and images of local people who have experienced the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and have recovered or who have supported a loved one through recovery to emphasise that most people do recover from COVID-19.
• Make sure you portray different ethnic groups. All materials should show diverse communities being impacted and working together to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
• Link up: There are a number of initiatives to address stigma and stereotyping. It is key to link up to these activities to create a movement and a positive environment that shows care and empathy for all
Facts, not fear will stop the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Share facts and accurate information about the disease.
- Challenge myths and stereotypes.
- Choose words carefully. The way we communicate can affect the attitudes of others
Working together to combat stigma
Check these illustrations, sparks and stories submitted by Voices of Youth contributors around the world to spread kindness and support each other.
You can also share your messages of support, comics or poems against stigma and discrimination with the hashtag #voicesofyouth. Or submit your content through our website. Be safe, be kind.
Image Credit Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom
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