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Letters to the Editor

Address issues involving mental illness

I write to comment on an article, "Body found in rural Stevens County tentatively identified (Sun Tribune, Nov. 8). The article adds at the end that Jack Eisel suffered from mental illness. Though this is an important story, the detail of Eisel having a mental illness has a negative implication. Readers may not realize that many people with mental illnesses can function as well as people without mental illnesses. The negative stigma surrounding people with these illnesses and disorders will not disappear until these issues are addressed. Thank you.

Sarah Kirchman


Language key in referring to mental illnesses

I am recently enrolled in a psychology class through the University of Minnesota, Morris. This class has provided me with vast knowledge regarding mental illness, disease and disorders of today. An aspect of the course which was emphasized included the concept that a person should not be referred to as their mental illness. Instead, person first language is the respectful way to refer to people who have mental illness. For example, if one has schizophrenia, person first language would refer to the person as: (name) has schizophrenia. This word usage would be utilized rather than "They are a schizophrenic." Through the usage of person first language, one is not defined or described solely by their mental illness, disease or disability.

Similar language which is important to be aware of in the description of people with disability includes language such as "suffering from ... " or "a victim of ... ." The usage of this language is condescending and makes an assumption about another's personal experience.

Recently, I came across an article in the Morris Sun Tribune which referred to a person who had "suffered from mental illness." This was the only reference to this man and not other details were provided about him. With all due respect, I would recommend that further information regarding the personality characteristics of this individual be provided rather than simply stating information about a mental illness. Additionally, according to Mark Nagler, in "Perspectives on Disability, person first language involves utilizing a reference to a mental illness or disease only when this information about a person is absolutely necessary.

Thank you for the in-depth coverage which is provided in the Morris Sun Tribune. I hope that my present concern is understood and considered in future articles when discussing people with disabilities or mental illness. Additionally, I encourage providing further educational pieces in the Morris Sun Tribune regarding disabilities and mental illness. Thank you.

Brynn Stember


Snowmobilers, be

careful around trees

The Morris Tree Board wishes a snowy, safe and thrilling season to all snowmobile enthusiasts. Please be careful of the tree plantings on either side of Highway 28 from Highway 9 to the bypass. It appears select sled drivers leave the groomed trails and use the trees as obstacles to be just barely avoided. The last two years, a number of trees have been killed and others damaged by snowmobiles out of control. These accidents can be easily avoided by staying on the trails. Please respect all of the Morris community's hard work in buying, planting, watering and maintaining (and, unfortunately, replanting) these precious trees. Thank you and see you in the shade.

Jay Fier

City of Morris Tree Board