Letter: Why is mental illness treated differently?

Published: 9/25/2019 12:01:14 AM

I read your recent article on “Amazing things possible with Down syndrome” (Monitor front page, Sept. 20) with interest. It was an informative and uplifting article on the community support available for families who have a loved one with the disorder.

As a special education teacher, I applaud our communities for sharing resources, supporting one another and encouraging people with Down syndrome to be the best that they can be. I am wondering if such an experience exists for people with loved ones who are suffering from mental illness.

Scientific researchers are in general agreement that major mental illnesses are genetic disorders that may not manifest until young adulthood. If both Down syndrome and major mental illnesses are genetic disorders, why is community support lacking for folks with mental illness? Why do we rally around each other for certain illnesses but not others? Why do we shun certain groups and limit their access to appropriate health care treatment and resources with budget cuts?

If people with Down syndrome were treated the way that people with mental illness are treated, the outcry would be huge (and rightly so). Something to consider.



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