As COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Bulgaria, we wanted to share with you some recommendations on how to help combat the stigma surrounding COVID. One of the best ways we can keep a physically and mentally healthy AAS community is by reducing the stigma around possible and confirmed incidents of people with COVID.
Some do’s and don’ts to combat COVID stigma....
- Do talk openly about COVID, but avoid rumors and gossip.
- Do speak accurately based on the latest official health advice and scientific data.
- Do call it COVID or coronavirus. Other names have been used when speaking about this disease that have led to horrible stereotyping and racism.
- Do not refer to people as “COVID cases,” “COVID victims", or ”COVID suspects.” Refer to them as “people who have COVID” or “people who may have COVID” for example. This shift helps us to see everyone as another human being rather than the disease.
- Do talk about people “acquiring” or “contracting” COVID rather than “transmitting”, “spreading” or “infecting” as these words imply intention or blame.
- Do speak positively and focus on the effectiveness of treatment and recommended prevention measures. Do not dwell in fear and negativity.
- Do correct misconceptions while acknowledging people’s feelings. Remember all feelings are ok. It’s what you do with them that matters.
- Do communicate support and encouragement to all. The best prevention is creating a community where everyone feels safe to take recommended precautions without fear of negative consequences.
Thank you all for doing your part to help keep our community as safe and healthy as possible in this challenging time.
The AAS Counselor Team
More Tips on Comabting COVID-19 Stigma from the World Health Organization
Illustration by: Clara Armstrong (@witchtropolis) 2020