I am writing in response to your article and question (The Star, August 29) ‘Where should people with mental health difficulties be housed?’
In a loving, supportive and accepting community would be my answer. Mental illness, as opposed to physical illness is so often misunderstood. I, too, was guilty of fear and ignorance until it came knocking on my door with a vengeance. Just as the body can become ill, so can the mind.
People with mental health issues are very often conceived as troublemakers or drop-outs. Some may be, but so are many people with physical health issues. Mental health problems can range from eating disorders, eg anorexia, to severe depression, and affect people from all walks of life. Anyone of us could be sitting next to or working with a sufferer, as one in four people will experience mental health problems at some time in their lives.
The plans being opposed by residents for staff-supported independent living accommodation will be a step on the road to recovery for many sufferers. I would like to pose this question to the opponents, ‘Would you be showing the same opposition if the proposed accommodation were to be used for the rehabilitation of stroke sufferers?’
The fear and prejudice that surround mental health need to be tackled by love, support and acceptance for sufferers of these very real and painful illnesses.