I was offended by your use of the word “shrink” in the headline (July 28) about the suspect in the Colorado shooting tragedy. I have worked more than 40 years in providing addictions and mental health care and the biggest challenge I have faced is the attitudes people have toward certain illnesses — especially mental illness.
Sadly, your use of the “shrink” term does nothing to change negative attitudes about psychiatrists and the valuable care they provide to thousands of people in Maine. The Sun Journal could do a better service to the community by validating the truth that mental illness is an equal opportunity illness, that help is available and that it is very treatable.
Sadly, the Colorado tragedy could happen anywhere.
Here in Maine, we have our own instances when some people, beset by acute illness, have taken their own lives and/or the lives of others. However, many thousands of people in Maine live productive and fulfilling lives because their mental illness has been effectively treated in their home communities and, in doing so, they remain out of hospitals and other more expensive forms of care.
I would hope the Sun Journal would be more positive in the future about mental health, rather than reinforce negative, unhelpful attitudes.
Ron McHugh, Rumford
Executive director, Oxford County Mental Health Services
Editor's note: We agree the word was ill-considered and we regret its use.