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Letters to the Editor: Praise for Times columnist Frank Shyong’s letter about his depression

Times columnist Frank Shyong recording a podcast at the L.A. Times' building in El Segundo.
Times columnist Frank Shyong is seen recording a podcast at the L.A. Times’ building in El Segundo.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Thanks to columnist Frank Shyong for his important public letter to his parents about his own depression.

Shame, as he describes in his struggle, is one big reason why people with mental illnesses keep their suffering secret and avoid treatment. When respected journalists such as Shyong and other public figures come forward, there is a destigmatization of these frightening and dangerous conditions.

Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Mental illness is difficult to treat, but the cost is much higher to patients’ families and employers when no treatment is attempted.

Michael Gross, M.D., Woodland Hills

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To the editor: I want to thank you, Mr. Shyong, for your very brave article.

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You and I are nothing alike: I am not Asian, I am 75 years old, I am retired and I used to be an engineer. But your story resonates with me, except that I had a very abusive childhood. I kept a “stiff upper lip” through most of my life, although sometimes I could hardly get out of bed in the morning.

I raised three children and was married for almost 25 years. In 1988, at the age of 42, I joined a 12-step program to deal with an eating disorder, and as I gave up anesthetizing myself with food, all hell broke loose. With the help of wonderful therapists and a 30-day inpatient program, I started to heal. That led to the end of my marriage and many more years of healing.

I can’t imagine the courage it took for you to write that letter. I don’t know you, but I salute you for that courage and for your ability to communicate just how hard this work is.

Bless you, my brother, and may you find more healing and wholeness.

Bonnie Kampmeyer, Burbank

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To the editor: Thanks to Shyong for his powerful, courageous and generous gift to every reader about the topic of depression. I doubt that there is any family untouched by this terrible illness, which is made worse by the social stigma attached to it.

Shyong’s story will no doubt help countless people by encouraging them to open up about their situation and seek help.

Liz Sherwin, Los Angeles


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