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Letter: Heartening reaction

Re “One of the 26 percent” (Sunday Monitor Viewpoints, March 17):

I was tremendously heartened by reporter Annmarie Timmins’s “coming out” and then by the outpouring of support from Monitor readers two days later.

Over the years I have always read any story with a Timmins byline and always felt wiser for doing so – which means that I have come to value her as a person. So when she admitted in last Sunday’s paper to suffering from “major depressive order and anxiety disorder,” I began to wring my hands.

Why wring my hands in this modern age? Because, of late, mental illness has returned to a state of prejudice against it by the general public. The outlook of the public had become more accepting since the low point in 1972 when Thomas Eagleton, the Democratic nominee for vice president, withdrew from the race because he had been outed for his seeking treatment for mental illness. (Doesn’t one wonder about all the politicians with a mental illness who are not savvy enough to seek treatment? We may even be electing “crazies” who go untreated!)

The public castigation of the mentally ill waned in subsequent years until the 2012 epidemic of mass murders by gun-bearing young males.

The National Rifle Association response was that guns were not the problem, mental illness was the problem. Consequently, the spotlight and suspicion is back on any and all with a mental illness. Anyone in private life, let alone public life, better not own up to seeking help for what they may sense they need.

Timmins has gone public in a big way, and many readers expressed themselves favorably. I wish to add my gratitude to theirs.

BOB LONGABAUGH

Alton Bay

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