Reach out this season to those with mental illness
It is the season of giving and the spirit is alive here in the Cowichan Valley, but there are a group of people who are in desperate need of the charity of others.
These are the mental health patients of the city we call home. These people (I know, for I am one) are a largely invisible minority who go throughout their lives suffering in virtual isolation from the larger society.
They suffer from a number of biases from people that most are not even aware of. Look at last week’s edition, with the story about the murder of the Chemanius man named Derek D. His accused in getting a psychiatric evaluation and this makes the front page.
I am not criticizing the journalism of the story, nor the need for the fact to be presented, but what I am complaining about is the bias that it creates in people’s thinking.
You see a story like this and it is sensational, dramatic, dangerous. But consider that there are for every Colin John (who may or may not have an issue) there are thousands of people out there who live decent lives peacefully but because no one hears their story, they go unnoticed and fall through the cracks.
This is a season of giving and the best gift you can offer is that of yourself. If you know someone who is suffering please, drop them a line, give them a call, invite them to coffee, be a friend. They may not know how to ask for it because of the stigma attached to their illness and the shame they feel at the label that has been put on them.
Peace this season.