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Thin Line



Increasingly, I see many of the world's social problems stemming from an unrealistic, dichotomous, black-and-white, "Us vs. Them" mindset and society's attitude toward mental illness is no exception ("Breakdown," Feb. 21).

Mental health, or illness, is a continuum. We are a species of 7.6 billion individuals and we are all mentally ill to some degree; that's part of the human condition. The human brain is an incredibly complex organ that we've barely begun to understand and the slightest injury, chemical imbalance or genetic defect can push someone over that arbitrary, temporally flexible and culture-specific line between functionality and non-functionality.

Those of us whom our society considers functional (today) would do well to be mindful of that very fine line and conscious of our own cerebral idiosyncrasies. Perhaps that would result in a bit more compassion for and motivation to help those less fortunate.

Ken Burton, Arcata

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