LETTER: Mental health stigma perpetuated by many

As always, the answers lie in the “big picture” and who stands to benefit from an unchallenged stigma

Re: Stigma remains in mental health (News, Aug. 29)

Why is it that major advances in psychiatry and the understanding of mental illness over the past century have hardly made a dent in that intractable stigma?

As always, the answers lie in the “big picture” and who stands to benefit from an unchallenged stigma. In the case of mental illness, there are large vested financial interests by powerful groups in keeping that stigma alive and well.

For all-powerful global pharmaceutical companies, the stigma about mental illness is money in the bank. It is in their best interests to perpetuate the myths and stereotypes; staying discouraged and hopeless keeps people sick and desperate for any relief in a bottle.

There is no incentive for drug companies to dispute the stigma. Every day we are inundated with ads by drug companies showing distraught powerless people battling unsuccessfully with mental illness but we never see the reality – brave good people surviving an uphill battle with strength and courage.

Our governments also have a huge stake in perpetuating the stigma about mental illness. As long as public perceptions about the mentally ill are negative, unsympathetic and derogatory, our political leaders can keep mental health funding dollars at the barest minimum with impunity.

So how do we strike the fatal blow to the stigma about mental illness? It all comes down to educating ourselves and talking openly with our friends, co-workers and families about mental illness – until the shame is gone.

The stigma cannot survive in the light of awareness and against the formidable power of knowledge.

Doreen Marion Gee, Saanich

 

Just Posted

Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Next stop at Langford offers Olympic qualification

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Two-sailing waits continue Victoria to Tsawwassen

Backlog continues despite extra sailings over Easter

Saanich soccer player survives bout with flesh eating disease

Harinder Sandhu picked up the disease after soccer game

Second earthquake in less than two hours strikes off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Most Read