LTE – Treating mental illness is not demonology

from: Mental Health Association <info@mentalhealthportland.org>
reply-to: info@mentalhealthportland.org
to: letters@nytimes.com
date: Wed, Aug 13, 2014 at 6:44 AM

Editors.

The headline “Busy Working, Robin Williams Fought Demons” in your August 13, 2014 article is a disservice to our community and adds to the stigma of mental illness – ironically the subject of the article.

Mental illness is not caused by demons and it’s symptoms should not be compared to demons.

Your thoughtless and hurtful headline – of a thoughtful and helpful news story – may have been read by persons with mental illness, their friends and family members, and the people who care for them. There’s no argument the use of “demon” is just or accurate. Comparisons to demons further stigmatizes mental illness, creating a barrier to treatment and wellness.We’ve attached our media guide Media Guide: Your Language Matters When Writing About Mental Illness (PDF) to this email. Please download, read and distribute this brief guide to your staff before publishing again about mental illness.

Board members, Mental Health Association of Portland