Stigma is adding insult to injury.
It is adding an unfair, avoidable, intangible, yet pervasive burden to someone who is already helplessly and hopelessly suffering!
At times just a difference in looks, accent, or behavior, which is blown out of proportion, finally ends up being a disability. The actual cause and consequences at times are both bearable and curable compared to facing stigma.
Stigma is mixture of fear, that one may contract the illness; an aversion to the mostly unfamiliar issue and an arrogance that I and mine will never suffer. Stigma gives one the impunity to segregate, ostracize, neglect and even actively tease, taunt and abuse.
Stigma is also a subtle patronizing of, devaluing abilities beyond the actual deficits and persistent prejudice against the person, their kin and the very neighborhood even after the problem has been solved.
Stigma prevents awareness, prevents people from seeking help and blocks quality service delivery. Even research and training will not be efficient, if the condition invites stigma.
Stigma has to be removed; eradicated on a war-footing from any human condition.
Whatever be the reason – mental health issues, familial issues, communicable diseases, occupation-related problems, areas of stay, caste, creed, gender and sexuality.
It has to be radically replaced with Comprehension, Compassion, Care and Inclusion.
To contemptuously ignore and cruelly ill-treat someone in a challenging situation and to generalize it unabashedly as a group, proselytizing hatred consciously or unconsciously is to be less than human and has far-reaching consequences.
Say No to Stigma!
– Dr. Anbudorai
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