December 08, 2004

Who guards the Guardian?

To: Mr Ian Mayes
Readers' Editor
The Guardian

Dear Mr Mayes

I wonder if you and your editor might like to have a look at the Guardian's policy on writing offensive and ill-informed pieces about mental health problems? Twice in recent weeks your paper has run such pieces - a
piece by Sarfraz Manzoor treating stress as if it were just a skive, and then today's piece by Mary Kenny telling depression sufferers to be "brave" and pull ourselves together.

I wonder, would you run pieces treating a broken leg as a sickie, or telling somebody with cholera to pull themselves together? If not, why is it acceptable for pieces such as these to appear ? These are career-threatening, and indeed, in the case of depression, life-threatening ailments. Why does the Guardian see fit to demean their seriousness by responding to them in such an offhand and contemptuous manner?

Mr Manzoor, Ms Kenny or indeed your editor want to try living with stress or depression for a while: then they might appreciate what a desperate struggle it can be to cope with them and how shocking it is to be told that all one need to do is to pull oneself together.




At December 09, 2004 10:18 am, Blogger Jonathan M. G. Bryant said...

Mary Kenny's central point, the inappropriate prespcription and use of medication, is an important one I think.

Nevertheless, her chosen final line was somewhat unfortunate to say the least.

At December 09, 2004 4:39 pm, Blogger Jonathan M. G. Bryant said...

The Mansoor piece, on the other hand, is just stupid.

"I know about stress because I'm an (oh so important) journalist and I have deadlines" I think not.

He wants to go down to the DSS office in Catford for a day - and just sit down in the waiting area for an hour or two. Let alone actually work there.


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