Stigma of men­tal health pa­tients

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SIR, – With ref­er­ence to your ar­ti­cle “Psy­chi­atric pa­tient freed to walk out and kill friend” (De­cem­ber 3) – those of us work­ing in men­tal health do not “free” any­one, but “dis­charge” them, as we run hos­pi­tals not prisons.

The use of such lan­guage per­pet­u­ates the stigma that psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals are just like prisons where dan­ger­ous peo­ple should be locked up to be “freed”.

The ar­ti­cle ap­pears to in­fer that any­one “get­ting mes­sages from God” (which the pa­tient in this case ap­par­ently “warned” nurses about) must au­to­mat­i­cally be a dan­ger to other folk.

While also pre­sum­ably be­ing of­fen­sive to many re­li­gious folk, there is, of course, no ev­i­dence to sup­port such a di­rect link.

Me­dia re­port­ing can have a huge in­flu­ence on pub­lic at­ti­tudes to­wards men­tal health.

The char­ity Mind has de­vel­oped ex­cel­lent guide­lines on sen­si­tive and re­spon­si­ble cov­er­age of men­tal health is­sues.

Dr Alas­tair Palin, Clin­i­cal and Med­i­cal Di­rec­tor, Men­tal Health and Learn­ing Dis­abil­ity Ser­vices,

NHS Grampian

Coun­cil on wrong routes for the A96

SIR, – I’ve just learned with dis­may that Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil is sup­port­ing the pro­posed north and east routes for the new A96 dual car­riage­way East of Huntly to Aberdeen.

Th­ese are the long­est, steep­est, most en­vi­ron­men­tally dam­ag­ing, pol­lut­ing, struc­turally chal­leng­ing and, at ap­prox £20 mil­lion + per mile, by far the most ex­pen­sive route op­tions and all done to re­solve traf­fic is­sues north of In­verurie.

I fear the coun­cil is rid­ing on the coat-tails of a na­tional in­fra­struc­ture project to sort out a lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture prob­lem for them and all at the Scot­tish tax­pay­ers’ ex­pense too.

Shame­ful.

Sarah Simp­son, Keith Hall,

In­verurie

Give us more Doric in­stead of Gaelic

SIR, – Ap­par­ently schools in the north-east of Scot­land are strug­gling to re­cruit Gaelic teach­ers.

This may be a re­flec­tion of the fact that very few peo­ple speak Gaelic in the area. It is, by and large, only spo­ken by folks liv­ing in the west coast is­lands.

Per­haps there should be a drive to pro­mote the Doric lan­guage, which is spo­ken by many

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