Remy helps break depression stigma

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I want to commend NESN analyst Jerry Remy for disclosing his struggle with depression to Red Sox Nation. I also want to thank The Eagle for writing an editorial (August 15) about this important step forward for all of us dealing with mental illness.

I have missed Remdawg all season, and was delighted when he appeared on TV recently at a Red Sox game and explained that it was not the lung cancer or the pursuant infection that put him on the DL, but depression.

His openness about his bout with depression, a medical illness that strikes many, young and old alike, will go a long way toward breaking the stigma that those dealing with mental illness face on a daily basis.

We need more people in the spotlight like Jerry Remy to step up to the plate.

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By acknowledging his depression in a matter-of-fact way as an illness that he is getting help to deal with, he contributes to the understanding and tolerance of mental health disorders. Hearing from a public figure such as Mr. Remy helps to dispel myths about mental health, and to negate the stereotypes that surround these brain diseases.

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Remember when we whispered about relatives or friends that had cancer, fearing to mention the dreaded "C" word out loud for fear of contagion? It is time to be open about depression and other forms of mental illness now, too. Like cancer, mental illness is a treatable, no-fault disease and people who get it can go on to recover and lead full and productive lives.

We wish the best to Mr. Remy and will look forward to his return to the broadcast booth. [Editor's note: Remy returns to the NESN booth tonight on a part-time basis.]

Let us hope he will continue to discuss his depression and be a very visible example of the fact that recovery is possible.

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The writer is president, Board of Directors, National Alliance on Mental Illness of Berkshire County (NAMI-BC), which is a grassroots organization committed to support, educate and advocate for all those whose lives are affected by mental illness in Berkshire County. For more information or for support, call the NAMI-BC office at (413) 443-1666 or the writer at (413) 698-3436.


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