Letter: Mental health ‘stigma’ is actually bias

Graphic by Lori Deaton

[Regarding: “Burn Notice: How Local Health Care Workers Are Tackling Burnout,” April 6, Xpress:] “There is a lot of stigma for physicians and residents seeking support for mental health counseling or therapy,” says Western Carolina Medical Society director of development Amy Barcomb.

A correction: “There are a lot of people taught and teaching there is. We provide them with far too much support,” according to one authority.

“Stigma” has been used as an all-purpose term for the negative attitudes faced by people with behavioral health issues. However, increasingly reporters are using more precise terms, such as “prejudice,” “bias,” social exclusion” or “discrimination.”

I cannot think of when it is warranted to accommodate anyone directing a stigma or to use less than precise language.

— Harold A. Maio
Retired mental health editor
Fort Myers, Fla.


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