Opinion

Letters to the Editor - Mental health, Girls LEAD Act, sharing cancer stories, keeping in touch, End TB Now Act, the pursuit of happiness

Readers emphasize our mental health needs attention, support the Girls LEAD Act, urge everyone to share stories about cancer, talk about the importance of still keeping in touch with loved ones, support the End TB Now Act and remind everyone the meaning of pursuing happiness.

Mental health matters

Re: “Scouts learn it’s ‘Okay to Say’ when you’re not OK,” by Sharon Grigsby, Nov. 11 Metro & Business column.

When COVID-19 closed our schools and sent families into quarantine, we all asked, “How long will this last?” As a parent, I kept a positive attitude as I pivoted to working from home while homeschooling two first graders and a kindergartner. As the weeks wore on, I watched as my children (who loved everything about school) cried in self-defeat at the challenges presented. They were lonely. We were all stressed. I rocked and held my little boys and we all cried together.

This was my moment of realization about how much mental health matters. We all needed help beyond what I could provide. But to say that aloud came with a stigma of feeling my own guilt as a parent. I am so proud of how the Girl Scouts and the Okay to Say campaign found a way to support girls and families and verbalize that it’s OK to feel the way they do. It’s OK to have anxiety, to feel sad, to feel lonely. But it’s also OK to talk as a family about our mental health needs and to ask for help. We all need this type of support now more than ever.

Amanda Duquette, Heath

Support education for girls

The Girls Leadership, Engagement, Agency and Development Act is a bill supporting the notion that education should be mandatory for girls all over the world. It also encourages women to join politics and engineering, areas where they are severely underrepresented. Currently, neither of our Texas senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, are co-sponsoring the bill. With the help of the Borgen Project, a nonprofit that focuses on global poverty, we can email them and make our concerns known.

Andrea Berumen, downtown Dallas

Sharing our cancer journeys

The announcement of Alex Trebek’s death from pancreatic cancer, the recent death of Chadwick Boseman from colorectal cancer and Al Roker’s announcement of his prostate cancer bring to mind the pervasiveness of this multivariate disease. When celebrities make their cancer illness known to the world, it elicits strong emotional response because we know who these people are and admire them for their talent and courage.

A positive consequence of such public acknowledgments of cancer is the demystifying/destigmatizing of a cancer diagnosis. There is no reason to hide cancer as if it were some admission of physical weakness or genetic abnormality.

I am a cancer survivor and so is my 48-year-old daughter. Both of us are reminded every day of the blessing of good health and early detection. When one learns of someone with a cancer diagnosis, the most helpful reaction is expression of concern and wishes for the best possible outcome of the treatment and resulting side effects. We cancer survivors know the positive effect of those words for us and our loved ones. They keep us going.

Fred Zuker, Dallas

Tending to relationships

It is amazing that a force so small can have an effect that is greater than a hurricane, a flood, a wildfire, an earthquake, tornado, bomb or almost any other disastrous event we have experienced. Yes, the coronavirus. It has forced us to deal with the old concept of “out of sight, out of mind.”

It now takes a special effort to relate to people we haven’t seen in nearly a year for fear of contact. We all have expectations that our lost relationships might automatically renew if we can, without fear, get back together. As a reflection of our own lack of initiative to stay in contact, we wonder — have they forgotten about us?

A special effort is required to call, text or email in order to protect our “old” relationships. One thing is for sure — we certainly have the time. Let’s get busy.

Jim Smith, Lucas

Renew the fight against TB

Do you know what the deadliest disease in the world is? It’s not the coronavirus, it is a disease known as tuberculosis. TB kills 1.5 million people across the globe every year. The sad part is that many of these deaths can be prevented. The disease is treatable and curable, but many developing countries do not have an adequate health care system to treat all cases.

We have made progress in fighting TB, but with the current pandemic, the efforts have been stopped and could possibly overturn the precious steps already taken.

There is still hope. There is currently a bill named End TB Now Act (SB 2438) that will refocus our efforts on fighting TB. The bill will create new goals to end TB and increase transparency in the process to avoid duplication of efforts and corruption. As a supporter of the Borgen Project, I am urging all readers to contact congressional leaders, such as Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, to put pressure on them to support the passing of this bill.

Omar Baki, Helotes, Texas

Put down our swords

The pursuit of happiness is one of the unalienable rights which the Declaration of Independence says has been given to all humans by their creator and which governments are created to protect. Many believe that this means we have the unalienable right to pursue our own happiness, even if it means infringing upon somebody else’s right to pursue their own happiness.

I think that the founders meant that since all men are created equal, all men have the unalienable right to seek, obtain and actually be happy. This means that although I have every right to pursue my own happiness, my pursuit of happiness must not limit someone else’s right.

In the end, I think that this means that the left and the right, the Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals must compromise so that the government protects the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all. I call upon everyone to lay down their swords and come to the table of peace to work for the good of all the United States.

Bill Liebbe, Tyler

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