Friday, 3 January 2014

The problem with opinions

I'm sure you know the old adage about opinions being like a certain body part used for excretory purposes. Everyone has one but some people's are ill informed and not fit for public consumption.
The problem is our world today is as, Daire O'Briain stated in the past "But there’s this notion that everyone’s opinion is equally valid. My arse! A bloke who’s been a professor of dentistry for 40 years does not have a debate with some eejit who removes his teeth with string and a door!" The problem then is that sometimes when we listen to the 'experts' their opinion is as damaging as the person who knows nothing.

Case in point: Terence Casey the coroner for South Kerry said that the removal of corporal punishment was the "downfall for a lot of things" and that “the lack of punishment has given us a lack of respect of love of life and people’s neighbours and property. The lack of respect for your own life might follow that". He, of course qualifies this, by saying "I might be wrong but that is my own personal feeling". Which is basically another way of saying that he is entitled to his opinion, so that's all right then, no harm done, it's only his opinion to which he is entitled. However, while Mr. Casey may be a coroner, to my knowledge he has no experience in the field of mental health. As coroner he may preside over the unfortunate outcome of suicide but he is not there for the starting and the middle points. 

We have to be concerned about the rising suicide rates but the reinstitution of corporal punishment is not the way to go. I was fortunate to grow up in a time without corporal punishment, my parents and other relatives were not so lucky. There were suicides back then too, some due to the cruel behaviour of teachers towards children. These suicides were hushed up, 'death by misadventure', etc. They had to be in order for people to be buried with 'proper' funeral rites and inside the cemetery wall.
Mr Casey is right, we do need to talk about suicide. 

One cause of rising suicides may be due to the culture of binge drinking in this country. Alcohol, depression and suicidal thoughts do not make good bed fellows. But wait! The esteemed coroner also had something to say about this in the past. He suggested that our drink driving laws were responsible for suicides in older men who felt isolated. Again Casey is putting the cart before the horse, this does need to be looked at but getting rid of or lowering the legal alcohol limit is not the way to go!

Another thing Mr Casey may need to look at before he opens an orifice to give us his opinion or 'personal feeling' again is that he repeatedly uses the archaic phrase "committing suicide". That tells me all I need to know about the worth of his opinions on mental health.

If you have been affected by the discussion of mental health and suicide please contact one of the numbers below, they are trained, non-judgemental and unlike the coroner don't believe that hitting people is the way to combat suicidal thoughts.