Letters to the Editor

Observer, please be more sensitive about mental health

Thursday, November 11, 2010    

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Dear Editor,

I hesitated to jump into the discussion about mental health in your paper, which was occasioned by your publication of the article, "To hell and back", on October 28. However, I believe it is worth adding my two cents.

I am very sympathetic with anyone who has been admitted to the University Hospital's ward 21, as your article said of Mr Horace Peterkin. Many years ago I too was admitted there. Thank God, the treatment worked and I am well today. I am very grateful to the staff there for their patience and professionalism.

It had taken me quite a while to accept that I was mentally ill. This is not something that one wants to own up to in Jamaica, because people are quick to reject you. Nobody wants to employ you, or give you credit or worse, marry you.

My family was supportive but I eventually came to understand the difficulty they went through, and so I love them the more for it.

If you don't mind me saying it, your article was poorly done and did not help the cause of people suffering from mental health problems, except maybe for allowing some people to come out publicly on a matter which is usually swept under the carpet.

I write to ask you to be more sensitive in publishing articles on issues to do with mental health. More people than you would ever imagine suffer from these illnesses. Don't make life worse for them.

As other letter writers have said, it's good that you explained that such a letter should never have been published in your otherwise very credible paper. But that is little consolation to sufferers of mental illness.

Dorothy Marie Layne

Ocho Rios

St Ann

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