Stop the Stigma!

     Grades 7 - 8

     1-2 Class Periods


Program Segment(s)

  • Dealing with Addiction (approximately 15 minutes)

"Dealing with Addiction" Jennifer Weiss-Burke speaks about her son Cameron a high school wrestler who was injured.


Students will be able to:

  • Define stigma.
  • Understand why many people who are addicted do not seek treatment.
  • Develop ideas to reduce stigma within their communities.


Instructional Resources



1. Prior to watching the video segments, teacher will post the following focus questions on the board: 

a. What is stigma?
b. What are some barriers to seeking treatment and getting support?
c. What can be done to reduce the stigma and increase desire to seek treatment?

2. Students will take notes related to focus questions while watching the video segments from Understanding the Opioid Epidemic.

3. Teacher will encourage students to share their notes and answers to the focus questions.

4. Teacher will pass out the Stigma Fact Sheet and either have students read independently or take turns reading aloud. 

5. Divide the class into groups of 5-6 students.

6. Without looking at them, have each student select a designation from the STIGMA or Discussion Topic Sheets (either STIGMA or a discussion topic) without looking at it.

7. Have students look at what they picked.

8. The student with “STIGMA” should sit or stand outside of the other group of students.

9. The students with a discussion topic will be given a few minutes to discuss their topic.

10. Students will go back to their seats for the whole class discussion.

11. Teacher will ask students with “STIGMA” to report how they felt. Answers might include feeling “shunned,” “embarrassed,” or “left out.”

12. Teacher will ask volunteers from the rest of the students who participated in discussions to share their experiences. They might say things like they “were glad they got to participate in the discussion” or “relieved that they didn’t get STIGMA.”

13. On the colorful sticky notes, students will explain one action that can be taken to reduce stigma within their community and will stick the note to the board.

14. Teacher should condense overlapping answers and read them aloud. A whole class discussion should take place as the teacher shares the student suggestions.

**NOTE TO FACILITATOR: The goal of this lesson is for students to develop an understanding of stigma and the prejudice and challenges that anyone faces when dealing with stigma. Please monitor your student groups carefully as to ensure that none of the students participating are under real duress or feeling anxious during the activity. The focus should be placed on what students can do to help anyone facing any sort of stigma.



Each student should participate in the Stigma/Discussion activity. All students should add at least one sticky note with a community suggestion to the board and participate in the whole class discussion.


Adaptations (Grades 9-12)

  • Based on the sticky notes and the class discussion, each previously established group will select one of the suggestions for eliminating stigma in communities and develop a presentation. The presentation should be given as if they are presenting to local government or community decision makers.


National Health Standards

  • Standard 1 - Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
  • Standard 2 - Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.
  • Standard 4 - Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.
  • Standard 5 - Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
  • Standard 7 - Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
  • Standard 8 - Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.


Download Icon Stop the Stigma! Lesson Plan (553.6 KB)

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