Letters to the Editor

How mentally ill are stigmatized

Stigma is a biased opinion or feeling that is communicated to someone who you feel is poverty-stricken, maybe homeless, maybe mentally ill or of a different race. Stigma is a preconceived thought pattern that stems from ignorance. It is not objective. Stigma can cause a person to feel rejected. It can cause a person to feel unworthy and have low self-esteem. In addressing the stigma relating to mental health, it occurs because people aren't educated.

It is estimated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that the unemployment rate for people who have a mental illness diagnosis is 90 percent. People with mental illnesses generally want to work, but can't. In housing, 40 percent who are homeless are that way because of an unsupportive system with lack of money to educate themselves or tools to better equip themselves. However, there are those who really just have given up on themselves and refuse to try to better themselves.

In the media and entertainment industry, 70 percent of the people surveyed portray mentally ill people as violent, and more than 5 percent of these 70 percent surveyed believe that a person suffering from mental illness is a killer.

LAURIE A. ROEHL

Modesto

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