Friday, March 6, 2015

The high cost of psychiatric stigma

March 6, 2015

Places and organizations that help people who have psychiatric histories to gather for discussion, activities and mutual support significantly reduce hospitalizations and therefore also reduce health care costs.

It is very socially and professionally stigmatizing to have a psychiatric diagnosis.  Many people, if you'll pardon the term, act crazy around and toward people whom they know have psychiatric diagnoses or have been hospitalized.  The abuses, stress and isolation that result from the stigma never stop throughout the lifetime of a person who is psychiatrically stigmatized.  Sadly, those pressures are often the direct cause of suicide for people with psychiatric histories, and society's callousness toward the people whom it has bullied to death is then excused by blaming mental illness for those suicides.

People who have access to places and organizations where their life problems are personally understood and taken seriously by other people who have the same problems are able to be much more stable and productive in their lives outside of those support gatherings.  To take away that support is both costly and life-threatening.

Copyright L. Kochman, March 6, 2015 @ 5:39 p.m./title edited @ 5:42 p.m.

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