Does “stigma reduction” miss the point?

missing the point

A provocative interrogation of stigma reduction campaigns:

Once we declared a war on stigma, I knew we were screwed. Like poverty, racism, drugs, terror and obesity before it—fighting stigma ensures that we will likely make little progress. Instead of doing anything about the things actually killing drug addicts and alcoholics, we focus on something vague and unbeatable. It’s like fighting smoke.

Forget stigma, let’s focus on what’s actually decimating care for mentally ill and addicted persons—corporate greed. Some health care is lucrative. Hospitals usually have some great digs for these golden geese. The hospitals in my area show off their outpatient surgery recovery suites . . .

Treatment of the addicted and mentally ill will never be a money maker, nor should it have to be. I would love to see a beautiful new psych ward in the ads for my local hospital, but apparently this is not a demographic with disposable income—nor is this a group of people with a voice. This leads to efforts at reducing stigma. This would make a lot of sense if the thing blocking change in these massive healthcare systems was a misunderstanding of mental illness or addiction, or an active antipathy toward helping these people. I do not think this is the case. I just think it’s irrelevant.

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