Today, I did something that I’ve never done before… After reading a newspaper article, I wrote a scathing letter to the editor!
Disclaimer: Although I did write the letter, it wasn’t actually scathing, nor even that harsh. (Sorry, I’m Canadian.)
One of the things bouncing all over my social media today during Bell Let’s Talk Day was an opinion piece published in the Globe and Mail on Jan 28th, “People with mental illness don’t need more talk” by Philip Moscovitch.
I don’t know Mr. Moscovitch personally, but after
stalking browsing his online profiles, I see that we have a lot in common. We both live in Nova Scotia, we both really enjoy fermented beverages, and we both love to write. (And while he may be MUCH more successful at the writing-thing than I am, I figure I could give him a hell of run for his money in the fermented beverage category!) Perhaps most importantly, however, we’ve both been personally and significantly impacted by mental illness.
I’m not going to summarize his article for you because I want you to actually read it yourself. (Again, the link.) You will discover that it’s extremely well written and that his points are clear, concise, and CORRECT. Yep, I pretty much agree with everything he has to say. Why then, you might ask, did I feel the burning need to write a letter of rebuttal to the editor of the Globe? (Don’t worry, I recognize that I’m being overly dramatic.)
Well, here’s the gist of it… I agree with Mr. Moscovitch’s opinion about Bell Let’s Talk Day, but with an important proviso:
Yes, 24 hours of “talking” is not enough. While it’s fantastic that $7 million (CDN) will be raised today to support mental health initiatives, it still burns that Canada’s mental health care is so grievously underfunded that it requires this corporate charity.
HOWEVER, as I once wrote in this post, I’m okay with being a bit two-faced regarding #BellLetsTalk. I
shamelessly happily shared and tweeted my butt off today, to make the most of what was being offered. I will also gladly continue to be a “dancing monkey” and give talks about my own mental illness, because every time I do, I save lives. This is not hyperbole. After almost every one of my talks, someone asks to speak to me privately and then discloses that they are in serious crisis. I then put everything on hold and help them find help.
I spend A LOT of time doing this “dance” and I do it all for free. And, on the odd occasion that I’m gifted with an honourarium (yes, even by Bell), I turn that money around to support the initiatives I know are more crucial. And while I certainly agree a colouring book in the break room isn’t what’s desperately needed, if it’s that’s only thing that’s being offered to me today, you can bet I’m going to colour the shit out of it!
Anyway, Mr. Moscovitch, thanks for getting so many people talking and thinking about the chasms in our mental health services with your excellent article. (You do WFNS proud!) Most importantly, however, thank you for advocating so well for your son and others who live with psychosis.
Just as you predicted, most of my conversations today were about “mental health”, but I have a mental illness and have come perilously close to losing my life because of it. Maybe it’s due to this commonality with your son, and because my family has never once stumbled on any of the many hurdles my illness has thrown at them, that I was so moved by your article. Honestly, the pure love from which it was written was nearly blinding.
Wishing you nothing but the best,