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LETTER: Stop stigmatizing mental illnesses

Editor: I was dismayed by comments made by a local planner in Calgary while discussing the recent vandalism to the Peace Bridge. He lamented that Calgarians deserve to have these "lovely, beautiful, comfortable" spaces, however, they always seem to be

Editor:

I was dismayed by comments made by a local planner in Calgary while discussing the recent vandalism to the Peace Bridge. He lamented that Calgarians deserve to have these "lovely, beautiful, comfortable" spaces, however, they always seem to be vandalized.

What is most concerning is this person went on to say he understands "the person responsible could be suffering from mental illness". He was making an assumption and perpetuating the myth that people with mental illness are incapable of being productive, lawful members of society. Walk a mile in their shoes and face the stigmatizing attitude they face daily. And then offer them an olive branch.

Then last week, that same issue raised its head again. Among the numerous letters and the editorial written in the Aug. 4 Outlook regarding an email that has charged emotions in Canmore, a contributor said "...I do not know the background or mental health details that may have prompted this unfortunate action". Further, she commented that we must all know someone, family or friend, "that may have some mental health issues that could result in this type of action".

The marginalization and demeaning attitudes towards minorities, in this case those with mental illness and last week the LGBTQIA2S+ community, has to stop.

Bigotry, racism, intolerance, and you can add to this list, is more deeply ingrained in society than you would wish or believe them to be. We must act together, as global citizens, and learn together for healing to really ever occur.

As we learn to love others, the real work is learning to love ourselves. Then the real work can begin.

Marilyn Foxford,

Canmore