Letter to the editor: Reader warns of harm from ‘stigma’


To the editor:

Your headline should instead read: Make It OK helps us face mental illness, overcome stigma — or one can place one’s effort into overcoming those taught and teaching there is a stigma.

You decide which is more efficacious, repeating them or overcoming them.

Several times in history people have been called upon to direct a “stigma,” the most egregious occurring in Germany under Nazism, where millions lost their lives to those complying to that version.

In the U.S., rape stigma endured for generations, until in the 1970s we were told to stop declaring it. We had done enough harm.

AIDS stigma consumed countless minds for a briefer time. Even doctors pledged to first doing no harm initially obeyed it and did nothing.

Today we are broadly being asked to comply with the words, “the stigma” of mental illness, and we are again broadly complying. We ought instead be saying to one another, “It is time each of us stopped. We have done enough harm.”

Harold A. Maio
Fort Myers, Florida


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