Role of public organizations in socio-psychological support of stigmatized minorities
It is clarified the content of the “stigmatization”, “self-stigmatization”, “destigmatization” concepts. Stigmatization is considered as a special type of social interaction between representatives of the majority who are the carriers of accepted norms, and representatives of minorities as the stigma carriers. It is determined that a stigmatized minority is a group of persons which is characterized by signs (stigma) that are unacceptable by the majority, and cause the condemnation. Ethnic, cultural, age, gender, and physical characteristics that differ minorities from most of society may become the reason for stigma. Self-stigmatization is considered a consequence of minorities’ stigmatization by their surrounding, which manifests in the formed negative attitude towards themselves and commits actions that lead to the deepening of their isolation from society. It is defined that the reverse process of stigmatization is destigmatization, which is aimed at restoring the rights and social status of minorities. The attention is drawn to the public organizations’ important role in supporting of stigmatized minorities and in their destigmatizing. There are identified the several directions of public organizations’ work, the task of which is to overcome the consequences of stigmatization: (1) providing of a various types of assistance to overcome self-stigmatization among representatives of stigmatized minorities; (2) creation of socio-psychological conditions to ensure the process of destigmatization (organization of peer-to-peer support groups to make the all-round assistance for the representatives of stigmatized minorities); (3) conduction of information campaigns by means of mass media and various events, which have to change the society’s attitude towards the vulnerable population and improve the image of stigmatized minorities in the mass consciousness. It is emphasized that volunteers play an important role in the work of public organizations, by helping to increase the efficiency of the destigmatization process.