Barbados Media Treats Mental Health Issues With lack of Compassion, Understanding

Dear Editor:

I read with sorrow the news you carried of the woman who was hospitalised after walking naked in Broad Street.  But before I go further, perhaps I can first entreat that you not accompany this letter with her image as you did the story you carried.  And may I say that I understand your need to be current with the news.

As someone who lives with the occasional ill health that accompanies bi-polar disorder, I appreciate your image’s predicament.  The sense of judgement that most of you at Barbados Today and most of your readers take for granted is sometimes lost in the moments of crisis suffered by we who are diagnosed with mental ill health.

Nevertheless, we the diagnosed mentally ill live among you.  Most of us even live well as no doubt you do.  Our error is in thinking that you view us as one of you, and could depend on your empathy to shelter our moments of self harm.

Might I genuinely wish that none of you, including the many who will tout our images of nakedness on facebook and blackberries, ever share our shame and social neglect.

Guidance,

Margaret D. (Kawamuinyo) Gill

Letter to the Editor published here with permission.

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