Letters to the Editor

Mental illness stigma

Halloween is a great, fun time — except for many who are struggling with deep-seated depression or other forms of mental illness. For those engaged in such a struggle, passing through local retail outlets with “mental patient” costumes on sale (some with built-in straightjackets), seeing “asylum parties” announced on social media sites and reading about “haunted madhouses” (some with roving lunatics) open for visitation are debilitating sources of stigma and hopelessness.

Highlighting individuals in a group as wicked or dangerous because of an illness is inherently cruel. Would a haunted attraction display someone desperately struggling with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, or a psychotic veteran suffering from PTSD?

I dislike political correctness and oversensitive whiners as much as anyone.

However, sometimes our insensitive “fun” — when done without thinking — can cause great harm to someone in a life-or-death struggle.

Think about it, have fun this Halloween and do the right thing.

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