Mental Health and Addictions Education in the Emergency Department

Evidence-based guidance for including Trauma-Informed Care principles in practice and reducing stigma in health care.

What is Stigma?

Stigma consists of:

  • Negative and unfavorable attitudes, both verbal and non-verbal (e.g. Thinking all individuals with a mental health diagnosis are violent)
  • Negative behaviours resulting from these attitudes (e.g. Requiring two staff for assessing individuals presenting with a mental health or addictions concern)

(CAMH, 2023)

Stigma occurs at the time, across society and social interactions:

  • Intrapersonal (e.g., self-stigma)
  • Interpersonal (e.g., relations with others)
  • Structural (e.g., discriminatory and/or exclusionary policies, laws, and systems)

(Knaak, Mantler & Szeto, 2017) 

Reflecting on Language

What we say and what others hear can be two very different things. Review the Changing the Language of Addiction [Factsheet] below and consider:

Pre-Education Activity

Understanding Stigma For Health Care Providers

Learning Objectives

  • Explain stigma and its causes, and identify what stigma looks like in the health care setting.
  • Describe the impact of stigma on people with lived experience and why it is important for people with lived experiences to share their stories.
  • Describe the relationship between stigma, mental illness and addiction.
  • Identify common misperceptions about mental illness and addiction.
  • Describe how mental illness and addiction affect the other and how stigma can affect diagnosis and access to services.
  • Describe what is being done to address stigma in health care environments and what health care providers can do to make a difference.
  • Identify ways to reduce stigma, prejudice, and discrimination. Describe how applying recovery-based and trauma-informed awareness in your approach to care challenges stigma.
  • Identify strategies to decrease stigmatizing language use and explain how to incorporate respectful language in verbal and written language.

Click here to learn more and register for Understanding Stigma | CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)

Instructions for taking the course

1. Click on Register for this course in the box on the right side of the page.


2. You must have a CMHA account to register for courses. To sign up for your account, just click on Create a new account (A), fill in the form, and confirm your account. If you already have an account, click on login here (B)


3. To get to the modules, click anywhere in the Understanding Stigma box.

4. Review all the information on how to complete the course. Besides the modules, there are many elements that must be completed before you can receive your Certificate of Completion.

Certificate of Completion

A certificate of completion will be automatically generated by CAMH and sent to your email when you have completed all 3 modules plus the beginning- and end-of-course elements. You must ensure that you do all the activities, including the self-reflection free text activities, within the modules. If these are not completed, a certificate will not be issued.

Supplemental Resources

Confirmation of Completion

Once you have reviewed all the material, click the link below and select the name of the module and date of completion. Fill out the rest of the form and click on Submit. Save or print your certificate, if you have not received a certificate from a 3rd party.


Confirmation of completion


CAMH (2023). Addressing stigma. Retrieved from May 31, 2023.

CAPSA (2023). Stigma. Retrieved from May 31, 2023.

Knack, S., Mantler, E., & Szeto, A. (2017). Mental illness-related stigma in healthcare. In Healthcare Management Forum (Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 111-116).

Mental Health Commission of Canada - Centre for Addiction and Mental Health