Collaboration with Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs.
See beyond. See the lives (#SeeTheLives) is an anti-stigma campaign developed by researchers from University of Alberta, University of British Columbia and University of Calgary along with the leaders of two prominent Canadian parent advocacy organisations who represent families affected by substance use. #SeeTheLives is a series of four short videos which feature three parents whose child’s death was related to substance use and one parent who has lost a child to suicide. By reading very personal letters written to their children, these four parents share intimate stories about their loved ones, express their experiences with stigma, and offer insights into what needs to change to address substance use and mental health. The goal of the project is to evoke understanding and challenge the stigma of substance use, by showing the family experience of grief and loss connected to substance use; that we need to ‘see the lives’ beyond the numbers and statistics we see reported in the news to understand the impact of stigma on our families and communities.
Scotland has high rates of drug and alcohol related deaths and many family members report experiencing stigma as a result of their loved ones' substance use. An anti-stigma campaign in Scotland is needed to challenge the stigmatising views of the public and provide an opportunity for the public to see the people behind the numbers and the headlines. This would be the first anti-stigma campaign of its kind in Scotland. The aim of this project is to the develop a Scottish version of the #SeeTheLives campaign in Canada, involving family members affected by the death of a loved one to alcohol and/or drugs. The decision to involve both those affected by alcohol and drugs is because poly-substance use is common in Scotland and we felt that involving family members affected by both drug and alcohol use was important.