Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2020 Oct 21:110150. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2020.110150. Online ahead of print.
Psychiatric and justice-involved populations are known to be stigmatized and particularly vulnerable to adverse outcomes during COVID-19. The increased attention toward vulnerable populations from healthcare authorities, the media, and the general public has made it critical to uncover any developing stigmatization toward these groups and the possible consequences. The prioritization of public safety and shift in the prioritization of resource allocation and service delivery could lead to a rise in negative perceptions toward these already stigmatized groups. Thus, it is imperative to consider how the unique characteristics of vulnerable groups may impact their physical and mental health as well as their care during this pandemic. In this paper, we describe the challenges that psychiatric, correctional, and forensic psychiatry populations have faced during COVID-19 and how a rise in stigmatization could lead to adverse outcomes. Specifically, we outline the influence of the media on public perceptions and how stigmatization may be reflected in the allocation of resources, policies, and related decision-making during COVID-19.