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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 610-611
Stigma-discrimination: Significant collateral damage of COVID-19

1 Medicine School, Faculty of Health Sciences, Neuroscience Research Group, University of Santander, Bucaramanga, Colombia
2 Medicine Program, Faculty of Health Sciences, Health Psychology and Psychiatry Research Group, University of Magdalena, Santa Marta, Colombia

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Date of Submission16-May-2020
Date of Decision18-May-2020
Date of Acceptance08-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication10-Oct-2020

How to cite this article:
Cassiani-Miranda CA, Campo-Arias A. Stigma-discrimination: Significant collateral damage of COVID-19. Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:610-1

How to cite this URL:
Cassiani-Miranda CA, Campo-Arias A. Stigma-discrimination: Significant collateral damage of COVID-19. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 24];62:610-1. Available from:


Due to rapid increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19 worldwide, anxiety and concern are increasing among the population in various regions of the world. They have made this pandemic an unprecedented global public health problem. The extremely high infection rate, the mortality associated with COVID-19, and the pandemic nature of the situation exacerbate fear in all sectors of the population, which has led to stigma-discrimination complex (SDC) in some social sectors, in particular, and conspicuously, toward workers in the health sector.[1] The SDC is an idea related to four terms that bring together, are highly correlated, and often happen simultaneously: stigma, stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination. Stigma is an unfavorable attribute, prejudice is a pejorative personal judgment based on stigma, a stereotype is a negative social attitude toward the negative feature, and discrimination implies behaviors violating rights of persons or groups with the stigmatized characteristic.[2]

As the COVID-19 outbreak increases, a wave of fear emerges that leads to the development of new forms of stigma-discrimination in various communities.[1] Although nobody wants to be infected with a virus with high morbidity and mortality rates, people's behavioral responses are disproportionate.[3]

Thus, the SDC associated with COVID-19 has taken over the social conscience and is overgrowing worldwide, notwithstanding the scientific evidence showing the nature of COVID-19. The SDC associated with COVID-19 presents undesirable social consequences that jeopardize efforts to halt the advance of the pandemic.[4] The SDC has an emotional and cognitive impact that affects the ability to assess situations associated with COVID-19 objectively, and this limits the potential for the effectiveness of the prevention and mitigation strategies that each citizen must follow.[1] In addition, it is essential to highlight that the SDC toward symptomatic people of COVID-19 limits the search for medical help.[5]

So far, the COVID-19 approach has focused primarily on infection control and effective vaccine design.[5] Meanwhile, the psychosocial aspects have not been studied in-depth or sufficiently;[1] thus, states will have to work holistically to reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19 and guarantee the highest degree possible of social welfare. All social groups must commit to the design of effective fear reduction and SDC programs associated with COVID-19 to modify the social perception of the epidemic. Clear, scientifically substantiated and transparent information should be provided to the general population, while favorable, encouraging messages of support should disseminate to all members of society, especially health personnel and other essential workers.[1],[4] Given the scarcity of interventions to reduce the associated SDC toward COVID-19, there is a need for structured related programs and to take advantage of the current position of social networks to overcome fear and stigma.[4] Under this perspective, academics, policymakers, researchers, and health professionals should lead these programs to combat misinformation, SDC, and fear related to COVID-19.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Dashraath P, Wong JLJ, Lim MX, Lim LM, Li S, Biswas A, et al. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2020;222:521-31.  Back to cited text no. 1
Campo-Arias A, Herazo E. The stigma-discrimination complex associated with mental disorder as a risk factor for suicide. Rev Colomb Psiquiatr 2015;44:243-50.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kobayashi T, Jung SM, Linton NM, Kinoshita R, Hayashi K, Miyama T, et al. Communicating the risk of death from novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). J Clin Med 2020;9:580.  Back to cited text no. 3
Ren SY, Gao RD, Chen YL. Fear can be more harmful than the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in controlling the corona virus disease 2019 epidemic. World J Clin Cases 2020;8:652-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
Shigemura J, Ursano RJ, Morganstein JC, Kurosawa M, Benedek DM. Public responses to the novel 2019 coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Japan: Mental health consequences and target populations. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2020;74:281-2.  Back to cited text no. 5

Correspondence Address:
Carlos Arturo Cassiani-Miranda
Medicine School, Faculty of Health Sciences, Neuroscience Research Group, University of Santander, Bucaramanga
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_506_20

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