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  • good morning tickets, Tuesday, said there's a lot of talk these days about ending the stigma, especially when it comes to mental illnesses, but also when it comes to other highly stigmatized diseases and driving through Sierra Leone.

  • A few months ago, I was discussing stigmatization with Dr Byler Barry, and he pointed out to me that we can't really know howto end stigmatization until we grapple with what causes it, something I never really thought of before.

  • So the classic definition of stigma is that it's a mark of disgrace that reduces someone from the hole and usual person to a tainted, discounted one.

  • The word comes from a Greek word that described a mark placed on slaves to denote that they were less valuable than other people.

  • And of course, when the social order sees you as tainted and discounted, discrimination and isolation become much more common, especially if you are from a group that is already discriminated against.

  • For example, worldwide diseases that disproportionately affect women are more highly stigmatized as our diseases that disproportionately affect poor people and also stigmatization is highly context dependent, like it's easier for me to live openly with a mental illness because I don't have to worry about applying for jobs where a prospective employer might weren't about and be concerned by my mental illness.

  • I hope I don't have to apply for any more jobs, but okay, so what actually causes stigma?

  • And why're some diseases more stigmatized than others?

  • Well, this has actually been studied, and researchers do have a few ideas first and maybe most importantly, there is perceived peril.

  • Highly stigmatized illnesses are often seen as a threat to healthy people.

  • Many people, even people who intellectually understand that, for instance, HIV cannot be transmitted through hugs or handshakes still, incorrectly perceived peril when encountering.

  • People living with highly stigmatized disease is the mentally ill, meanwhile, are often perceived as unstable or dangerous.

  • And so the perceived peril, maybe less about contracting the illness than becoming an indirect victim of it.

  • It does seem like education can help reduce this stigma.

  • But on Lee, to an extent, then we have origin and controllability.

  • Diseases that are seen to be the result of choice are more highly stigmatized than those that aren't like the mentally ill are often told toe buck up or snap out of it or whatever which, believe me, we would like to, but we can't because we don't actually have the control that is described to us by the stigma and origin factors in when diseases are, for instance, sexually transmitted and therefore seen as some kind of punishment for sin.

  • But John from the future here just to state the obvious.

  • That's not how biology works, like viruses do not have a moral compass, and we have long pretended as if they do, because we want life to be a story that makes sense.

  • This is why, for instance, in the middle of the 20th century, it was commonly believed that cancer was caused by childhood depression and social isolation.

  • I think this is also why mental illness has been associated with demon possession.

  • We want to understand the cause and effect.

  • We want the story to have a moral, but nobody deserves illness.

  • Deserving is the wrong frame through which to look a illness.

  • Illness isn't like some punishment from on high.

  • It's a side effect of having a body.

  • All right, So the last cause of stigma cited in many studies is coarse and stability, which is to say that illnesses that are likely to be fatal or chronic are more highly stigmatized as our illnesses that haven't unpredictable course and is better treatments for diseases emerge.

  • Those diseases tend to become less stigmatized like syphilis, for instance, was probably the most stigmatized illness in the world 200 years ago.

  • But now it's curable, and so one way we can reduce stigma is by investing in research and treatment of highly stigmatized diseases.

  • While mental illness treatments have gotten vastly better over the last few decades, we still have a long way to go, and the same can be said of HIV and the availability of anti retroviral therapy.

  • But to really end stigma, we also have to resist the urge to see illness as part of some moral narrative.

  • How you got six shouldn't determine whether you're able to get well, and the pain of illness shouldn't be calm, pounded by the pain of isolation.

good morning tickets, Tuesday, said there's a lot of talk these days about ending the stigma, especially when it comes to mental illnesses, but also when it comes to other highly stigmatized diseases and driving through Sierra Leone.

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