End the stigma

To the Editor:

It is good that the awareness of the diseases of addiction and mental illness is becoming more widespread. However, the shame and stigma surrounding those diseases can keep those in need of medical attention for their often-fatal illnesses from seeking that attention. There are certainly other factors standing in the way, particularly due to the nature of those diseases.

Can we open a conversation in this forum about how we can work toward ending the shame and stigma?

Jails and prisons don’t want us to do that: Many have become privatized, and are a moneymaking business. Four out of five incarcerated persons have committed nonviolent crimes. Upon their release, those incarcerated for nonviolent crimes will never regain their full rights, and because of their conviction, their path to rehabilitation is full of stumbling blocks. The statistics are staggering.

Funeral directors do want us to do that, every time they bury a young person who has died of addiction and/or mental illness.

What can we do?

Michele Jones

Oak Bluffs