Sat, Feb 04, 2012 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Battle stigma of insanity

With the dramatic increase in the college enrollment rate, a higher rate of students with debilitating psychological disorders, especially in low-tier institutions of higher learning, is becoming clearer.

Teachers are left scratching their heads as to how to deal with such students because they are not trained for such a task and a visit to a health professional is frowned upon at best and stigmatizing at worst in a nation where saving face is still of utmost importance.

Society sees psychological disorders as abnormal, but acceptable. Some see it as a curse caused by some inauspicious event. Some even wonder why these poor souls allow themselves to be chronically blue.

As a result, the silent psychological malady settles in unchecked, save for a few trips to the fortune teller or to the temple, which only offer limited relief.

However, visiting a health professional is not as stigmatizing, it’s cheap or free and above all it provides the quickest answer.

However, for the majority, seeking professional help is akin to being crazy, and making that journey to recovery — and ultimately a decent life — would entail losing face; living with the disorder is much more bearable than being seen visiting the psychiatrist.

For those who manage to break through the wall of shame and are willing to seek private professional help often find it unaffordable to do so, or they seek the services of doctors in public hospitals, where they are loaded with drugs without extensive consultation — writing the patient off with prescribed medicine does the trick.

Finally, some people deliberately avoid seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist lest their insurance providers find out they have a mental disorder, which could disqualify them from a life insurance plan, something that almost every citizen see as a necessity.

The majority of citizens continue to attribute the factors that lead to such debilitating maladies to superficial or supernatural forces, and that impedes any type of progress in this matter. Therefore, being aware of and well-informed — at an earlier age — about the biological, cognitive, learning and conditioning factors, as well as the morbid effects that ensue, could provide some relief to a population that is teetering on the brink of insanity.

Mo Reddad

Greater Kaohsiung

Respect Tibet

It is time for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to show his respect for the human rights of Tibetans by dropping the Republic of China’s (ROC) claim to Tibet from the ROC Constitution (“Helping Tibet would help Taiwan,” Jan. 31, page 8).

The ROC has treated Tibet like a cake drawn on a piece of paper to satisfy hunger and should wake up from this daydream that hurts both Tibetans and Taiwanese.

Taiwan has suffered enough as a victim of intimidation over its sovereign status. Taiwanese diplomats do not have diplomatic immunity because Taiwan is not considered a state — even by its ally, the US. The Taiwanese president is not allowed to visit the White House. Yet the ROC still has a map that includes Tibet, Mongolia and China as part of its territory, after it lost all of these in 1949. This map only creates problems for Taiwan.

If the ROC really wants to live in the past, it should move its government to Kinmen or Matsu, which the ROC can still legally claim as its territories.

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