NAVIGATION- Dr. Charles R. Davenport; Licensed Psychologist

Mental Health Treatment: Dan Rather comments

The importance of paying attention to mental health in his treatment was recently discussed in a Sarasota Herald Tribune article. The article has a 17 min. plus commentary by Dan Rather. Rather was a speaker at the seventh annual Isermann Family Foundation free community lecture. This lecture focused on defeating the stigma of mental illness and has previously brought advocates such as Patrick Kennedy, Richard Dreyfus, and Carrie Fisher.

Dan Rather has a history of presenting topics related to mental health and in his discussion was able to trace some of the current difficulties back to failure of follow through and 60s. There was progressive thought at the time the closing psychiatric hospitals would be favorable allowing patients to move into outpatient facilities. This potentially positive ideal never seemed to come to fruition as it was imagined. Mental health seems to have a heavy stigma in our culture and frequently  is gravely misunderstood. Just as our culture has had strongly held false beliefs in the past, many of the beliefs about mental healthmay one be looked at in a similar fashion. Those who struggle with significant mental illness are likely also to have financial difficulty. This is not about weakness but frequently secondary to an illness. If someone had cardiac problems and was not able to work, popular culture would not likely judge them as negatively as someone who struggles with depression or hallucinations and is unemployed. We are all susceptible to being influenced by depression or anxiety at some point in our lives if we are being most honest. If we are able to use these experiences to better understand others, to move closer to them rather than seeing how we’re different we may be in a better position to make change.

Rather suggested to bring change we need to “teach the children… Stigma is so deeply embedded and so difficult to overcome. Teach the children to have compassion, to see them as our brothers and sisters….”



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