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Reader's Letter: Life isn’t fair? Just get a grip!

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SIR – Two or three weeks ago a columnist in my daily paper wrote about a little experiment in which he awarded himself £10 each time mental health was mentioned on radio and TV.

At the end of one week he was a modestly wealthy man because it would seem that half of the UK population are in the throes of mental difficulty, apparently unable to deal with the ups and downs of everyday life which beset us all.

More recently, actress Joanna Lumley has upset the woke brigade and others by saying that putting everyone with such issues under the same “banner” belittles the problems of those who live with very real, disabling mental illness – something which I have long thought myself.

Poor mental health among youngsters is spiralling, an NHS report has said (Photo: Stock image)
Poor mental health among youngsters is spiralling, an NHS report has said (Photo: Stock image)

Before readers rush to grab pen and paper or dash off an email deploring my insensitivity to such issues, may I please state that I have personal knowledge of them. My late husband had to cope with the long-term effects of his experiences in World War 2, both in the Coventry blitz when he quite literally watched family members burn, and during his army service.

The early days of our married life were, therefore, at times quite difficult and, as his constant companion, I had to witness it all with a feeling of deep sorrow and utter helplessness. No counselling in those days!

In general, though, we didn’t have time to be sorry for ourselves and analyse our depression because things weren’t going as we wanted. We were too busy trying to earn a living and pay our way without the benefit of government handouts.

Those unfortunate people who were genuinely affected mentally to such a marked degree were certified and institutionalised, without today’s freedom to remain within the community, sometimes harming themselves and other people.

I mention this issue because of a fairly recent experience of my own. Going through the rec early one morning, nobody was around except for a lady coming towards me accompanied by a young man. He was shouting, waving his arms about and behaving in a quite aggressive manner.

As they drew closer he lunged towards me and swung a bag he was carrying at my head. I ducked and tried to get out of his way but he followed, yelling and kicking me.

Fortunately, his companion managed to grab and drag him away saying: “Sorry – he’s having a bad day and I shouldn’t have brought him out.”

All very well, but I was quite shaken and supposing she hadn’t been able to control him?

Those really suffering such problems should receive all the kindly understanding treatment and support due to them. Those who climb on the bandwagon for sympathy and five minutes of fame through the media, because perhaps broken relationships and a few other difficulties come their way, saying “life isn’t fair” usually just need to get a grip!

Phyllis Inglis,

New Milton

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