A friend recently posted an article from the Seattle Times on the disappearance and search for a missing Microsoft employee. I hope he comes home soon well and sound.
“There was never a sign of him being in any mental distress at all. This is why it’s concerning,” Sachdeva said.
Venkatesh has no known chemical dependency or mental-health issues, police spokesman Drew Fowler said. He is not considered endangered, but his disappearance is under investigation.
However, I find this reporting very disturbing; it upsets me that the police felt the need to say the he doesn’ t have a mental illness or chemical dependency, and that the Seattle Times editor felt the need to keep that in the article. I think both the police and the reporter succeeded in further stigmatizing mental illness; there is an unconscious implication that this man’s disappearance is more important or the search for him and his safety more paramount because he is not ( reportedly) mentally ill.
Shouldn’t we care, because he is a human being, who is missing?
Reporting on the state of his mental health changes the conversation in our minds and the sympathy we have for him and his family. We care that he comes home, that he is safe and taken care of.
Thinking about the people I’ve loved and are no longer here and it hurts. Reliving the joyful memories only brings back the pain of knowing we won’t share in any more. So I offer that, the sacrifice of my present joy to give life back to your ghost if only for a moment.