Kol hakavod (all honor) to Ruth Roth in poignantly writing about the mental illness that ultimately took her son’s life (“Telling The Truth About Mental Illness,” Opinion, Feb. 26).
Children are born innocent and vulnerable, as are young parents. If a child is trapped in the mental quagmire of illness, he becomes the victim. And his parents, in experiencing the shame of not being the same as others, share in that victimhood.
I applaud Roth’s outspoken and compassionate plea for understanding and acceptance within the community, making the point that parents need the support of others to help raise a child who is different.
And yet transparency is clouded by the stigma of being different. Being the “other” is a fearful place to be. Shame shields the truth and ultimately mental illness can lead to a destructive and paralyzing existence.
It is easy to embrace the healthy. The challenge is to understand and allow for the mentally unhealthy child and his parents to be spoken about not in hushed tones but in full acceptance that no one chooses to have a mental disease and one must be allowed to develop a healthy environment.