Misguided depiction of mental illness (letter)by Ruth WebberNews Weekly
, June 10, 2006
I would like to express my disappointment at the outrageous comments made about the former West Australian Premier, Dr Geoff Gallop, made by Joseph Poprzeczny in the article, "WA Liberals, Nationals in self-destruct mode" (News Weekly
, May 13, 2006).
Depression is a medical condition that can be treated. Claiming that his was an illness caused by his "relatively light premiership workload" and a "factionally-directed party" is both irresponsible and erroneous.
Mr Poprzeczny's comments fly in the face of the more understanding and tolerant view of depression being promoted by the chair of beyondblue
and former Premier of Victoria, Jeff Kennett.
People suffering from mental illnesses often face an uphill battle to have their conditions taken seriously by members of the community, who confuse clinical depression with everyday stress or sadness. It is incredibly disappointing that a magazine of your quality has allowed comments like his to be printed.
It is also incredibly insulting to Dr Gallop's impressive record to imply that he left at the height of his career, after a second convincing election win, because he was unable to "cope" with a difficult job.
Please consider such comments more carefully in future, and do not allow your magazine to contribute to a misguided and harmful depiction of mental illness.Ruth Webber,
Labor Senator for Western Australia,