Mental Health Awareness
Mental Health advocacy, awareness and services are a key aspect of my campaign. I write about mental health issues because I care about the issues, I understand the issues and what needs to be done about them.
Thank you for writing the Huffington Post article “Mental Illness as a Civil Rights Issue.” As you discovered after sitting in on a group therapy session, stigma is a major challenge for people with mental health challenges. Mental health stigma can impact one’s chance for housing, work, education, and other important resources. Stigma can also have a deep impact on how one views themself. If the message someone gets from society is that people with mental health issues are all dangerous or inferior, they can internalize that. This can cause low self-esteem or deter them from getting help. It is very important that people with mental health challenges are treated fairly in our society. And our society needs more education on mental health to get a better understanding. Thank you again for the article. -- Sincerely, Tanya J. P.
This was on point. Thank you for your empathy, compassion and commitment to this cause. Sincerely, -- Kathleen C.
Paul I just wanted to thank you for your article. I suffer from bipolar disorder and have always kept it to myself (I was diagnosed as an adult) for fear of the stigma that is attached to mental disorders. I strongly agree that people need to become educated and stop all the discrimination. Great job! -- Kristin
Dear Mr. Heroux - I am a mental health advocate - see Facebook Lime Ribbon Post. I've worked 7 years or so to associate a color (neon) lime green with mental health to Lime-light mental health out of the darkness into the light. To help unify our movement for a louder collective voice (like pink for breast cancer awareness.) ... Just thought I'd let you know how mental illness is exploited by the court system, attorneys, ex spouses to gain an upper hand and avoid owning bad behavior while acting with prejudice and stigma. Keep up the good work! -- Shannon J.
Many thanks to State Rep. Paul Heroux (“Don’t let mental illness get lost in the gun debate,” Feb. 25). Those who persecute, or to phrase it more delicately, stigmatize, those who courageously carry on life with a mental illness, often suffer from deliberate ignorance. The more public discussion on the matter, the better. -- ROGER WHITING, Holliston, MA
Thank you for writing such a thoughtful and thought provoking column about mental illness in The Daily News. I hope it is widely read, absorbed, and appreciated - - and that it becomes the basis for not only reacting but moving forward. - Linda R.
Thank you for writing this article for the Metrowest Daily News. Thank you for your support of the many millions with a mental illness. Please let us know how we may help you in your efforts to educate the public and the media. - Bill T.
Dear Congressman Heroux, I can’t thank you enough for writing your recent article, which was today published in the MetroWest Daily News. I have also published an article on January 27, 2013, asking the readers to not stigmatize the roughly 1 in 5 Americans currently diagnosed with any number of afflictions along that expansive continuum known as mental illness. I mentioned that it was almost the equivalent of blaming these shootings on the physically ill. Yet, here we are again. They may as well be showing reruns of “One Flew Over…” back to back with “Girl Interrupted”. What a shame. The mentally ill population (sober)are statistically no more violent than the mentally well population (sober). People need to understand that “evil” exists in this world. Adam Lanza has not been diagnosed with a mental illness that I have heard of to date, and his predatory nature and pre-planning activities are aberrant of an Asberger’s patient, so he must have had a very mild case. (Anyway, Asperger’s is not a mental illness, but a neurological deficit). He chose 1st graders to kill so he would be remembered as the most notorious killer of our time. That was pure evil. Just like Osama Bin Laden and Sadaam Hussein killed children to make a point, because they were evil. Thank you, Sir, for your time, and your article. Sincerely, - Sue L., Natick, MA
Dear Representative Heroux, Thank you so much for your eloquent and touching letter you wrote that was in today's Taunton Gazette! I also wrote a letter that will hopefully be in that paper tomorrow, concerning Taunton State Hospital. I appreciate so much your understanding and insight into mental health, and the stigma that surrounds it. I have dealt with this stigma for many years, my son has been a patient at TSH for almost three years. I recently sent you a fax regarding the Mental Health Advisory Commission, I hope you received it. If you did, you know that I along with many others have been actively advocating for the hospital to remain open. I know you support us, and I am thankful for it. Sincerely, Karen C.
Dear Paul, I was happy to read your article, "Time to address mental illness." It is so true that it is time to address this devastating illness. I direct the spiritual care department at Saint Anne's Hospital in Fall River and I see so often beautiful young people who hang themselves or take pills to end their lives (anger directed inward) or who have been shot by someone (inappropriate anger directed outward) in our emergency room. Mental illness is a physical illness like any other physical illness effecting the brain rather than the stomach, back etc. Why doesn't the government reimburse this illness as well as other illnesses? Why is there such poor treatment especially for those who can not afford the best? We have a wonderful gero-psych unit at Saint Anne's Hospital but some years ago before we became for-profit we tried to put an adolescent unit in and we couldn't afford it because it would be so poorly reimbursed. Thank you for whatever you can do to help the government see that here is where they need to put their money to help so many. I wrote to the president when those awful shooting took place and got no response. No one with a healthy brain would shoot little kids. Instead they spend their time and money on gun control which would be useless in these cases because they would get the guns illegally. My cousin stole the gun he killed himself with from his neighbor. Thank you again for the article. The more we bring out mental illness the better, so people in power will work to bring better treatment. Blessings, - Sr. Carole M. O.P.
Thanks for you continued attention to an underserved, much maligned group of good people. - Gretchen R.
Enjoyed reading your last article on this issue Paul in Attleboro Patch. - Bobby E.
Totally agree with you....where can we find more of "you"!!! - Gloria S.
Dear Rep. Heroux, Thank you for your thoughtful post on compassion and understanding. For those of us who try to help people with serious mental illness, its a breath of fresh air to have someone in government like you put these important issues in perspective. Sincerely, Andrew A. Nierenberg, MD, Director, Bipolar Clinic and Research Program, MGH, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Dear Rep. Heroux, I just wanted to say I loved your article on mental health reform. Finally some reason is being applied to the challenges our country faces. Thank you. - Best, Elise P.
Mr. Heroux- Thank you for your thoughtful discussion of mental illness in yesterday's Huffington Post. Any effort to reform mental health services has got to start with a recognition of the damaging consequences of toxic stress in childhood. Schools need to be trauma-sensitive environments geared toward helping children learn to regulate their emotions and behavior. With the right supports, children can learn to manage the stress of their lives and move forward in a resilient manner. Thank you again for your post. - Susan C. Ph.D.
Thanks for your thoughtful January 2 blog in the Huffington Post calling for compassion and understanding in mental health reform. Yes, we certainly do need compassion and understanding in that mix! Thanks for caring, Mr. Heroux. If you would like an introduction to Robert Whitaker, I would be happy to facilitate. He is a friend. Sincerely, Suzanne B. (PS: The reason I care about this issue is that I lost my own son in 2008 after a seve-year struggle to help him reclaim a life worth living)
Although I am not a citizen of your state I wanted to take a moment to show my appreciation for a reasonable comment in an otherwise idiotic national conversation. It's just unfortunate that the media is too busy giving 24 hour coverage to the "attack on our second amendment rights" to give your comment and similar views any real airtime.
As someone who has been a patient of mental health for 15 years the deragetory slur was hurtful. It especially pained me when he elaborated by including veterans, a category to which I also belong, with violent criminals. I wonder what can be done to stop such hate speech? Surely in America there is some kind of law against seriously considering jailing a person who hasn't even been accused of a crime...... Or is there?
Please don't misunderstand, I am a proud gun owner and will not give mine up willingly or quietly but I have, unlike many others, actually read the 2nd amendment and I cannot figure out which part they say applies to individuals. I understood it to protect the state's rights to form militia. But then again, what would a "gun owning, lunatic like me know? (Evidently, way more than the NRA)
I know your time is limited but if you would like to respond my name is Holly S. and my email is ABCXYZ
Thank you for your time and attention. -- Holly S.
Hi - Thank you for writing your HuffPost commentary. My brother Roger suffered from bipolar disorder. He died in 2007 from a pulmonary embolism caused, I believe, from obesity related to SSRIs. I appreciate your candor in this argument. I am happy to help speak out on this should you need help. - Susan C.
Your blog on prescription drug addiction being a medical condition and not a moral failure…we combat that misconception daily, professionally as well as personally!!! Pray that young man continues to do well! Recovering life gets “greater later!”!!! Donna C. | Drug and Alcohol Licensing Specialist, Division of Drug and Alcohol Program Licensure, Pennsylvania Department of Health
Paul,I read your article at The Huffington Post and found your contact information there. It really resonated with me. I live in the Deep South, where mental illness seems to be a serious stigma. So much so that I have written and created my blog anonymously. I would be honored if you would check it out and consider sharing it with any who might have interest. My hope is it helps others, especially men, who might be dealing with depression and anxiety. Many thanks! - Jack
Dear Mr. Heroux, Thank you for writing an excellent piece about the horrible stigma with Mental Illness. I was judgmental and lacked compassion until my own son was diagnosed with Bipolar recently. It has profoundly changed our lives in some ways for the better. Empathy and knowledge must prevail as we march on with our Son. I guess it's like having a baby, you just don't know till you have your own. It is encouraging to read your wise words about an emotional illness. Thank you so very much for sharing. Keep up your good work. - Sincerely, Laurie T.
Good evening Mr. Heroux, I am e-mailing to express my gratitude for your accurate portrayal of the stigma placed on those afflicted with mental illnesses. Your representations and included data were completely accurate and were very much appreciated and needed. The mass populous must be made aware of the stigma associated with mental health diseases, ranging from women diagnosed with hysteria for being "non-compliant" to homosexuality being removed from the DSM in 1973. I would like to commend you for being a mental health advocate. I have attached a response to your article and would very much appreciate a continuing dialogue between two professionals. I urge you to continue being an advocate for those afflicted with mental illness in hopes of reducing the misconceptions associated with an increasingly marginalized population. - Sincerely, Ryan MSW Candidate 2012, University of Washington
"Thanks for the insights, Paul. As a counselor for men and couples in Phoenix, I work with depressed guys who often succumb to a confluence of issues: lack of social support, poor diet and lifestyle, inability to access their emotions and difficulty asking for help, including psychotherapy. Our culture doesn't make it easy, either. Men are indeed expected to 'man up' and deal with their own problems. I think cultural consciousness is changing, which is a good thing, although I think we have a long way to go. See my blog for more on men, depression and well-being at www.phoenixmenscounseling.com. Thanks."
"Your Monday column is among the very finest that I have ever read on your chosen subject. It even addressed a certain part of the phenomena, the cause vs. the maintenance vs. the treatment. I had vaguely surmised this from my many decades of personal experience . . with dysthymia. It's the first that I've seen in print. And, yes, I am a male . . . in my early 60s now.
Such had plagued me from the late 1960s through the early 1990s, when, after regular weekly sessions for four years, with a psychologist that I finally found to be of help. I noticed that in September of '92, the problem had been significantly reduced . . . though it remains a problem: it's a matter of significant degree, even though it's not as severe as it once was for me.
Thus, your column is well-received, to be sure. My thinking is that it really is appropriate, even though we really don't know the "size of the need" amidst the general population. Part of the age-old problem, of course, is the wrongly-perceived "stigma" of a "emotional" or "mental" illness versus "a physical one". I'm sure that you know this well."
"My name is D.... and I just wanted to truley THANK YOU for writing the article about depression. I have been "fighting" not only depression, but anxiety and bipolar... disorder for many years. It does not get enough attention and people don't take it serious. It has taken over my life. I have seen numerous doctors, I am on MANY meds, but still, it's a battle every single day. But I appreciate you taking the time to write such an informative article. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! It made me feel like maybe, I'm not alone."
"Dear Sir: I read your article in the January 11 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer. You raise many issues, however there is one area that is most difficult. When the mentally ill refuse to believe the diagnoses and seek the appropriate treatment or if they seek treatment but do not follow through with their medications, their decline in mental function is greatly accelerated. When you add this together with drug abuse and alcoholism is can be a toxic mix. Thank you for your article. The public needs to know so much more about mental illness."
"I wanted to thank you for your "voice of reason" for all of us in the "trenches" of providing mental health and addiction treatment. After reading your commentary, my feelings and thoughts about yet another senseless mass murder finally consolidated. It motivated me write a post in my blog, Parents of Addicts Resource Center (PARC) where I referenced your piece and I wanted to share it you. Thank you for bringing our voices a little closer to the forefront on this issue."
"Your 1/11/11 commentary "Can we help them before they hurt us?" was timely for my wife and I who have a 33 year old son living with us. His diagnosis is Bipolar Disorder with psychotic features. He suffers from auditory hallucinations. He has an addiction history of alcohol and cannabis. He has been hospitalized for suicidal thoughts. We live in southeast Pennsylvania, close to Wilmington DE. We are looking for guidance as to whether we should focus on his Bipolar Disorder and mental illness (we have psychological and psychiatric evaluations that go back to 1992) or to concentrate on his cannabis addiction. Do you have any recommendations for treatment or for a path to take? His parent's rationale in providing free room and board for him is that we could keep a closer eye on him and encourage him to address his mental issues through counseling and medication. He emotionally broke down last week prior to the pre-trial and lamented that he has no friends, no one to talk to (other than his parents), has no job, and [now he is beginning to recognize] has no chance for a job. He stated that he would not go to jail and that he had a plan and method to take his life. My wife and I are in our mid-60's, We therefore need to be planning not only for his immediate treatment and care, but for his long range care should he out live us. Where can he go and who is going to take care of him? He can not manage money. Thank you for your 1/11/11 Philadelphia Inquirer article and thank you in advance for any assistance that you could provide."