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Voice of the Reader: Empathy helps heal mental illness

Voice of the Reader: Empathy helps heal mental illness

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To the Editor:

In honor of World Mental Health Day, let us all take meaningful action and reach out to loved ones we know who may be suffering from mental illness.

The World Health Organization describes this day as intended to “raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilize efforts in support of mental health.” Whether it’s anxiety, depression, PTSD or addiction, a part of the cure may be a simple act of kindness and human connection. Further, inform your loved ones of studies that confirm that meditation significantly improves one’s mental health. The “Waking Up” meditation app by Sam Harris, for example, is a free meditation app. Encourage them to check out Harris’ podcast, “Making Sense,” especially his recent conversation with Dr. David Doty titled “The Power of Compassion.”

Dr. James R. Doty, M.D., is a clinical professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University and founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, an affiliate of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute. Doty’s personal story and the practical advice through this episode illuminate the practical advice we should all listen to. Science confirms what we know intuitively: Genuine empathy helps heal mental illness.

Author of “Chasing the Scream,” Johan Hari argues that the opposite of addiction is connection. Maybe the opposite of mental suffering is connection. That could be meaningful connections in our relationships, work, emotional, physical, and spiritual connections to the world and life around us. Be well and be kind.

David Lawler

Marion

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