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—-And then there was the stigma, the pervasive view of people who are mentally ill “not as sick but as bad,” as Sardy puts it.
Actually, we “people with a mental illness”, like people without, are a broad and diverse demographic, earning to the millions holding every university degree, and every professional, white and blue collar job.
To be honest, the intention of the author was pretty clear. Some people with mental illness can earn a degree or hold down a job, but I would argue that this is in spite of mental illness, not because of it.
The author is suggesting that despite Tom requiring support and struggling to treat his condition, he was punished by law-enforcement and made to feel shame – so ashamed he refused to take his medication.
Are you suggesting that there is no stigma attached to mental illness?