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Breaking Down Stigma In Community Settings: An Interview with Jess Murfin

We interviewed Jess Murfin from the East Riding Partnership Trust, an open-access addiction support service. They are working together to break down stigma and make addiction support services more accessible for those living with an addiction.


Jess is a Team Leader and looks after the operational teams who work across the community support Hubs. She told us about her role and the team she works in:

“We’re made up of recovery workers, peer mentors, social workers, nurses, non-medical prescribers and we’ve got learning disability nurses as well. We’ve got a wide skill-set within the team. My job role at the minute is Team Leader so I look after the Operational Team side of things. I’m also from a mental health nurse background and I’m also a non-medical prescriber.
“I worked as a non-medical prescriber within the Criminal Justice team and then due to relocating, I moved to the community setting.”

Jess explained more about the addiction treatment service she works for in East Riding and how it can be accessed:

“We’re an alcohol community service. We’ve got hubs based in Goole, central Hull and Bridlington. We do community clinics in the Hub or we do outreach clinics in Driffield and Hornsea. It’s for anyone currently struggling with any form of addiction. We welcome referrals from mental health teams, from GPs, or self-referrals. Then we offer assessments for individuals to look at and address the substance use or alcohol and plan care together. It could be getting people on medication, it could be psychosocial interventions, it could be higher interventions - detox and rehabs and continued aftercare in rehabilitation settings. We offer a wide variety of services tailored to individual needs.”

ERP recently ran a Hepatitis C testing event in Bridlington. Jess spoke more about Hepatitis C testing and how it helps to tackle stigma:

“Part of our assessment and the service that we offer is we test everybody. It’s an opt-out service usually so we test everybody for HIV, and Hep C. We’re working towards Hep C elimination so we worked with the Hep C Team and offered a HITT event. So that’s a High Intensity Treat and Test. It means that the Hep C Team came in, worked collaboratively with us, and offered testing over 3 days with little incentives like chocolates and vouchers. The Hep C team is peer-supported and peer-led, so it’s led by people who are actively in recovery or have had experience with Hep C. This helps to break down the stigma and the team can answer any questions. They offer training to staff as well so they can educate themselves and pass on that knowledge to people who might be diagnosed or may not know about Hep C. Where they might’ve refused a test, that bit of extra knowledge and those extra conversations can lead people to accept the testing. It just destigmatises it. These campaigns help raise awareness. It was a really good event and we delivered over 30 tests.

Jess told us more about what the East Riding Partnership is doing to reduce stigma and make their service accessible to more people:

“We are tackling stigma through education and staff education around stigmatising language. We ask staff to be aware of your actions and beliefs and how this impacts care. We also have a lot of people here that work and are employed that have lived experience. I think the more educated you are about Hep C and addiction and the impact, helps reduce stigma.
We also try to make our services accessible. We have outreach to help people who are struggling with domestic violence and for individuals who work, we’ve got provisions where we see them at a clinic closer to their place of work.
It is a 9-5 service but addiction isn’t 9-5, is it? We try to be as adaptive as we can.
We link in with the other services across the other Hubs because no one should have to wait or struggle to get into addiction treatment. Individuals who self-refer are usually contacted within 48-72 hours and for those using opiates usually access treatment within a couple of weeks."

Working to break down stigma is so important to make sure that more people living with addiction can access the treatment they need. We asked Jess what she would say to people who want to access treatment but don’t feel like they’re able to due to stigma:

“We’re a very welcoming service, we’re non-judgmental, we try to reduce the stigma and we’re here for them when they are ready."

We want to say a huge thank you to Jess for talking to us and giving us valuable insights into the East Riding addiction services and how they’re making these services more accessible. 

Learn more about how you can help reduce the impact of stigma via our Stigma Kills campaign: 

Read more about our Hep C U Later programme:

Find out more about the NHS APA on our website: 



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