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To the editors:

Mental Health Month is coming to a close.

I am very pleased to see it go, for the number of people crawling out of the woodwork to declare, “There is a stigma to mental illnesses,” will decline, and rational discussions promoting understanding of mental illnesses will begin to overtake them. Rote repeating of that prejudice will succumb to reporting (yes, there is a huge difference between the two) and hopefully some articles, mindful of that prejudice, will report about the people who promote it to print and minds, not just repeat it.


mental health stigma

MHAOK campaign aims to end mental health stigma by Paul Fairchild

One normally reports on prejudice, not mindlessly repeats people who hold them, but mental health prejudices are so ingrained in our psyches, in our language, that, though in plain sight, they remain fully un-comprehended. In that manner, rape/stigma survived for generations, its viciousness fully in sight, its rote repetition made even more powerful by its victims chorusing it: When one can enroll one’s victims in a prejudice, that prejudice is truly successful.

The President of the United States was enlisted to declare, “There is a stigma to mental illnesses.” He willingly participated, proffered that prejudice, wholly aware as a person of color that many presidents before him had held similar prejudices about people of color, and wholly unaware that he was partnering with a prejudice he has said he experienced directed at him.

Any number of notables, celebrities and semi-celebrities, and victims of that prejudice partner equally easily with it, and indeed some travel broadly promoting it to minds and print, finding willing editors and reporters wherever they go. “There is a stigma to mental illnesses,” they chant at elite wine and cheese festivals, raising millions to end it, as they promote it.

They will continue to do so, but thankfully Mental Health Month will end.

Harold A. Maio, retired mental health editor
Ft. Myers, Fla.