Further to David Brooks’ 12/5/13 Op-Ed, “The Irony of Despair”

December 26, 2013

The following correspondence of December 21, 2013, is best understood in context with my post of December 19: Bullies and Psychiatric Illness: David Brooks’ Shameful Op-Ed.

Dear Mr. Brooks,

Please consider the damning effect of your egregious December 5 editorial, The Irony of Despair.

Your vicious, shameful, overly simplistic, appallingly ignorant foray into the extremely complicated field of psychiatric illness, with its high mortality rate, is a horrifying assault on vulnerable persons who are already emotionally, spiritually, physically, socially, financially, and intellectually devastated.

What did you hope to accomplish with this feature? You helped no one. You likely harmed many, supplying a tipping point to those marginally suicidal who, having had the misfortune to read your words lost the last vestiges of their ability to cling to life.

Must I remind you of the unconscionably abysmal health care available to those with brain disease?

I hope that, in spite of your arrogance, there exists some sense of honor residing within you.

If so, be aware that your ethical sincerity requires both disavowal of your statements accompanied by what meager atonement is possible, given the enormity of your arrogant and condescending language.

One suggestion: a convincing retraction accompanied by substantive community service on behalf of the afflicted, after satisfactory completion of educational courses recommended by an organization such as The National Alliance on Mental Illness.

NAMI can be reached at (703) 524-7600, during conventional business East Coast hours.

Claudia K. Nichols
Founder, Pilot Health Advocates, Inc.
Chair, Education Committee, National Association for Healthcare Advocacy Consultants


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One Response to Further to David Brooks’ 12/5/13 Op-Ed, “The Irony of Despair”

  1. Jan Scherrer on March 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Well said, Claudia. Suicide is certainly not a “choice” when one experiences the despair, unimaginable pain, or some ongoing terror while trapped in mental illness. Brooks belittling of the magnitude of the effects of brain disease mirrors society’s attitudes. They want to make this another “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” problem, much like many want to do with hunger, poverty, and unemployment, and lack of health care. Despicable.

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