Treatable illness

To the editor:

I’d like to expand on Mary Ann Kiefer’s Feb. 22 letter calling for a revised gun bill. I want our legislators to pass a bill requiring background checks on all men who want to buy guns. After all, all these school mass murderers were men. They had a history of being men and all bought guns and ammo before their deaths (as opposed to afterwards.) So why sell guns to men?

On a more serious note, about half of all Americans will suffer from some sort of mental disorder sometime in their lifetimes, with over 14 percent (that’s over 42 million men, women and children) suffering from moderate or severe mental illness, including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.

This includes members of the NRA, teachers and students, police officers and gun dealers and, I’ll bet, members of Kiefer’s own family and circle of friends. (Why do you think you see so many ads for Cymbalta on TV?)

Mental illness is treatable. But, thanks in part to the stigma created by poorly thought through comments such as Ms. Kiefer’s, many people who need help delay getting it.

What everyone should understand is that people with a mental illness are people with a treatable illness, not “mental patients.” We should encourage people to seek treatment, not push to stigmatize and punish them for getting help. We should also show our support for our local nonprofit mental health service providers like the Recovery and Hope Network (RAHN) and Bert Nash.

Kendall Simmons,