Letter to Editor: Mental Health Champion “Admitting you have a problem is not a weakness. It is a strength”

Health / Fri 22nd Jul 2022 at 10:07am

Dear Sir,

I WOULD like to take the opportunity of thanking your correspondent Ian Beckett for raising the issue of depressive illness and the article published in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry.

Having read through the article it seems to me that certain elements in the media have taken what is essentially a theoretical study of articles and reports published on the subject of serotonin and depression and cherry picked the article for anything that could be used to create a sensationalist and misleading article for them to publish.

This is most certainly NOT journalism it is irresponsible and potentially dangerous. The article was published to create peer discussion and review.

Like Ian and millions of others worldwide I am taking medication to help me deal with long term anxiety, depression and PTSD. I take Sertraline (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)) It helps, there is no cure, per se, but learning to live with conditions such as ours is made easier with the right medication and learning to accept our condition.

Anyone that suffers from anxiety and depression will understand but unfortunately there are many who do not because they do not have it. Over the years I have had to deal with the cruelly ignorant (snap out of it, your just attention seeking etc) to just plain ignorant and that is incredibly sad.

In recent years people have started talking openly about mental health and to some extent the fear of the subject has decreased, irresponsible journalism such as this will only damage our acceptance and understanding undoing years of hard work.

In 1986 I went to work in Claybury Hospital, one of the biggest ‘mental asylums’ in the country. It was a very scary place when I started there, over 1200 ‘inmates’, lots of locked doors, no one voluntarily visited the site and rumours abounded about straight jackets and padded rooms. All nonsense of course. My time working there was the happiest I can remember.

Ian is correct, there is help available and that help can be personalised for your needs.

Admitting that you have a problem is not a weakness it is a strength and the first step to understanding what is happening to you.
And please remember if you are diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression you are not alone there are many people out here who do understand what you’re going through.
Take care
Cllr Nick Churchill
Member Champion for Mental Health and Wellbeing
Harlow Council

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