Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm done!

How's my mental health today?

I'm tired of answering that question. It's time for something different. I just don't know what.

After completing the A-Z challenge I needed to take a break and have written nothing since April 30th. The challenge was fun and tested my ability to come up with the 26 different topics.

Since then I've been wrestling with the question of what to do with my blog. The questions of why am I blogging, who am I blogging for, and what is the focus or topic of my blog kept tumbling around in my head. I still haven't answered them clearly enough to suit me.

I do know I'm going to stop opening with my mental health question. Over the past weeks I have experienced frustration and anger at some of the uninformed, vitriolic diatribes about offenders with mental illness in the media. Granted, the rants were in response to a horrific murder, but in my mind it doesn't excuse the fear-mongering editorial slant of much of the news media. It seems the sensationalistic perpetuation of the image of the dangerous, violent crazy person is of more interest to some reporters and columnists than the balanced factual truth.

Several years ago the Mental Health Commission of Canada asked various stakeholders if the media should be used to educate the public about mental illness in an effort to reduce the stigma that is so rampant in our society. My response to the Commission was that the media needed to be educated first because they are some of the worst offenders when it comes to spreading the stigma of mental illness.

Late last week the Winnipeg Sun posted a public opinion question on their website asking people if they were OK with an art studio for mentally ill artists in their neighbourhood. It was a yes or no question. The question seemed to be related to a story in which a woman in a small community north of Winnipeg applied for a temporary permit to host an outdoor gallery in her yard displaying the work of some mentally ill artists. I found the question offensive and called the newspaper to express my disgust and anger at their playing on people's fears. Past efforts have taught me that I wasted my breath.

I have been one of thousands of people working to educate people about mental illness and the people that live with these disorders. Five years ago I burned out. I have had enough! I'm done.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust from your feet.  Matthew 10:14

1 comment:

  1. Horst - I totally understand your frustration - certain media outlets cater to the lowest common denominator which is too bad - very sad really. Have you thought about approaching The Sun and asking for a regular space in their paper to talk about mental health issues from another perspective. I know they've done that at other times - that is a person allowed a person with a more open approach to have a regular space for commentary. I like your writing and I agree that there is a level of ignorance out there that gets fed by negative and sensationalist media stories. You are a great advocate - take care of yourself!!