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Letter: Mental illness

Mr. Blagg’s article “Off Balance On Rights “ was totally off balance. I was appalled by his gross generalizations and assumptions. Adam Lanza’s mother faced many conundrums, including buying him guns.

Right here in this valley, there are thousands of individuals dealing with some form of “mental illness” without a correlating high rate of violence. It’s preposterous to state that anyone in this country has absolute rights, especially those deemed “mentally ill.” The modern trend is to create a stereotype of dangerous or violent maniacs who are at the root of societal evils. This fuels the abrogation of these individuals’ rights. The truth is most walk among us as productive citizens: friends, neighbors and colleagues.

The standard medical protocol has not proved to be successful. It is heavy influenced by profit-seeking insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Many of “those seriously ill” are intelligent people who have the right to participate in their diagnosis and treatment. Disagreeing with an outpatient treatment plan does not make one dangerous. The fact is that Massachusetts already has provisions to have a psychiatric evaluation of ANY person thought to be dangerous. Opposition to the bill comes from a movement that wants to expand options and alternatives to better serve those in need.

The Western Mass. Recovery Learning Community provides peer-run community support centers for those dealing with mental distress. These centers are located in Greenfield, Holyoke, Springfield, Northampton and Pittsfield. They recently released a documentary film titled “Beyond the Medical Model.” This film provides valuable commentary on diagnosis and treatments. Information is available online. I suggest he research it.

The deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary are a terrible tragedy with many causes. Focusing on Adam’s mental illness as the only contributing factor does us all an injustice.

ANNA ENGLEY

Turners Falls

This is so true. Just because someone has a mental illness does not mean they are a time bomb waiting to go off, nor should their rights to have a gun be abridged.

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