Letters for February 20, 1998

Patten’s bill ‘misunderstood’

I am writing concerning your Jan. 23 article, editorial and cartoon about Richard Patten’s bill to amend the Ontario Mental Health Act.

Your editorial and cartoon demonstrate a serious lack of understanding of the issues which society in general, and families and friends face while dealing with individuals suffering from a major mental illness such as schizophrenia.

Changes to the Mental Health Act are urgently required as one of the steps to improve the lives of those with mental illness and provide them with what they and society have a right to expect — treatment appropriate to their particular situation.

The current wording of the Act causes individuals to be denied such treatment when they most need it, i.e. when they are in a severe psychotic state and suffering hallucinations and delusions including voices which seem absolutely real to them. In effect, these individuals are not “conscious” by any definition and are unable to make informed decisions about treatment.

It is extremely difficult to demonstrate that these individuals are an “imminent” danger to themselves or others and thus doctors and hospitals do not treat them until after a tragedy has occurred, or never in the case of suicide.

The wording of the Act must be changed so that doctors and hospitals react the same way when a person in a severe psychotic state arrives on their doorstep as they do when an unconscious heart attack victim arrives.

Finally, contrary to what is stated in your coverage, there is no community treatment program in Ontario of the sort Patten is suggesting.
Bruce Maynard
Director, Schizophrenia Society of Canada

No Mystery

I was amazed to learn that some people who call themselves Christians are at odds with one another as to who Jesus is.

Jesus clearly states who he is in the Gospel according to Luke.

Immanuel or Emmanuel, Manual means God with us. That was the name given by Isaiah to the Messiah of his prophecy (Is 7:14) It is often applied to Jesus (Matthew 1:13)
E.M. Skuce
Lisgar St.

Shooting the messenger

Who should be forced to take the pharmaceutical industry’s pills? (re: Richard Patten’s proposed mental-health legislation) I’ve known many of the best minds of my generation undergo mental duress from this alienatiing and insecure society.

But perhaps the tranquilizers should be given to the “globalizers” and “rationalizers;” the politicians and businessmen who mould this new world order of insecurity and alienation.

There is an old saying: don’t shoot the messenger!
Michael Larson
Lewis Street