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Letter: We must work to remove stigma of mental illness

We must work to remove stigma of mental illness

One in four people has mental illness. The present stigma associated with it, unfortunately, keeps many people from getting the help they need.

Many people self-medicate with alcohol and drugs instead. There is a growing problem with alcohol- and drug-related deaths. I think we need to stop glamorizing alcohol, as is the case in many advertisements.

Instead we need to realize the real problem, and rectify it with mental health education, and eliminate the ridiculous stigma associated with mental illness. It is an illness, just like cancer, diabetes or heart disease.

There are many famous, talented and very intelligent people who have suffered with all kinds of mental illness. Examples include Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Hemingway and Billy Joel, with depression; Beethoven, with bipolar disorder; and John Nash, the mathematical genius portrayed in the film, “A Beautiful Mind,” with schizophrenia.

Mental illness is a very common problem. It needs to be recognized and addressed, instead of being swept under the rug. Once we realize this, we can begin to solve this dire need in our society. There is help available.

Kathleen Daley

North Tonawanda