Women and girls face discrimination due to gender, potential disabilities and stigma - a triple jeopardy. According to UNDP, girls and women affected by leprosy make up some of the world's poorest and most marginalised groups, disproportionately affected by poverty, illiteracy and lack of education which act as barriers to seeking health treatment. Women and girls with leprosy and those affected by other neglected tropical diseases have the right to health care and the barriers to that stop this must be addressed.
Since stigma is still an issue even in today's society, we should be teaching ALL children to understand a range of emotions including mental illness from a young age. Being aware that feeling sad or low or anxious is nothing to feel ashamed of could help young people to open up, and prevent them developing into something more serious in later years.
By posting pictures of emaciated people to raise awareness, it is just reinforcing that stereotype so that the general public still have the idea that to be unwell the sufferer must be very thin and it makes sufferers feel that unless they look like that photo then they are not unwell enough to seek help.
Imagine being told with utter conviction from a stranger that what you had - whether it's an illness, the ability to recite the seven times table, or an actual living entity like a cat in your arms - wasn't actually real, and all because they once read an uninformed piece about it in a tabloid paper.
You call in sick with a moderate physical ailment, because it's easier to tell your boss you have a migraine/food poisoning/the flu than go into the intricacies of something you may not understand yourself. Have you ever been told to 'be strong' or 'get over it' by someone who just can't fathom the incorporeal nature of what's affecting your life?
Well I first heard the words, 'autism is an excuse for naughty children' a year ago and I honestly thought that I would never hear them again, that this was just a one off ignorant comment made by an uneducated and 'nasty' person, but how wrong was I? I am surrounded by people who know and understand Tom, so it is always a shock to the system when comments are made like this.