LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
MUSICAL TASTE NOT A MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE
May I disagree with Rick Long’s opinion?
I stood for Wairarapa DHB in 2013 and again in 2016, both times unsuccessfully. Rick is not alone in his lack of appreciation of the causes of suicide and I will stand again against the thinking espoused by Rick.
It is time we addressed the lack of understanding surrounding mental health.
We have major public health issues in Wairarapa which will not change while the attitude prevails that the victims are, in some way, the cause of their own problems - or that they are able to fix their problems by abstaining from a particular genre of music in which they may find some relief. These ideas show a great disrespect for those seeking help.
To make comments that encourage the stigmas surrounding mental health is unacceptable, especially from someone who is in a position of influence such as Rick.
There is an avalanche of research dealing with the causes of the problems we have in Wairarapa and I can safely claim that all of it is ignored by those charged with our public health policies. It is not OK to treat depression as if it is a choice and or to call anxiety a personality trait.
We treat depression with antidepressive drugs which cause suicide. We treat cancer with drugs which cause brain damage. We don’t easily recognise PTSD. We still condone bullying at all levels of our society.
The list goes on. One cannot blame the victim - or the victim’s choice of music.
Stephen Butcher, Carterton OPTIONS OTHER THAN FLUORIDATION
Is NZ to face the prospect of mandatory water-fluoridation?
A bill before Parliament may transfer decision-making responsibilities from local councils to District Health Boards, which are contractually obliged to carry out Ministry of Health policy. Critics see impending Central Govern- ment control and mandatory water fluoridation. With only 4 per cent of the world, and 23 out of 67 NZ councils fluoridating their water, water-fluoridation is already a highly contentious issue.
97 per cent of Western Europe has rejected water-fluoridation on the same issues at the forefront of NZ’s anti-fluoride debate - potential health risks and the ethics around citizens’ right to informed consent before taking medications.
It is topical use of fluoride (e.g., in toothpaste) not systemic (in water) that is effective and countries that have rejected water-fluoridation, have modelled new approaches, that we could pilot in the Wairarapa e.g. Scotland’s Childsmile-programme
Launched in 2001, targeting the same socio-economically deprived children as the NZ waterfluoridation programme; it offers supervised daily tooth-brushing in school with fluoride treatments, free dental check-ups, and education for families on diet and avoiding sugary drinks.
Poor oral hygiene, poor diet and sugary drinks cause not only dental decay but also other childhood diseases e.g. diabetes, obesity, asthma.
The programme has reduced dental decay and cost benefit rates significantly more than New Zealand’s, halved general anaesthetic surgeries, and saved the dental budget 5 million pounds a year. It is preventative, holistic, effective and safe and impacts positively on the whole health of the child for the life span.