Letter: Society ignores mental health issues at its own peril

Editor: Individual and societal ignorance about severe anxiety and mental health issues continues to thrive. It is even evident in the local public school system and youth sports programs.

This is often reflected in mistreatment, judgment, and bias that is otherwise deemed unacceptable when directed towards a person with any other type of disability.

The recent incident involving a university professor in Ontario openly mocking a student with self-expressed severe anxiety is but one case in point. His fellow students deserve kudos for standing up for him and for calling out the professor for offensive remarks.

More pointedly, a standing ovation for the student for meeting the challenges presented by his mental health issue and for showing the guts to get to school and further his education. He deserves as much praise as any individual who overcomes and confronts a physical ailment, disability, or disease.

Stopgap measures, slap-dash spending on incongruent programs, general lip service, and cutbacks in other areas contradict any notion of an actual system of mental health care in Canada.

Society would be healthier and better off financially if it pro-actively invested in coherent and co-ordinated mental health care programs focused on prevention, treatment, and support.

Instead, society persists with massive monetary and human resource outlays at the back end, comprised of the criminal justice system. This is purely reactionary, merely masks problems, and ultimately this archaic approach perpetuates the same mental health afflictions.

This, our fellow citizens, is the definition of real insanity, repeatedly doing the same things and expecting different results.

Governments and society ignore and avoid mental health issues at their own peril.

Tim and Lori Opper,

Langley

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