Letters: Adolescent Mental Health, Dissociative Disorders & Political Vetting

It's mail day. We find out what you've had to say about getting help for mental illness, diagnosing dissociative disorders and the political vetting process. Plus, we hear from a man who makes his living helping people clean up their online reputations.



It's time for our weekly look at the mail. And our Friday host, Alison Smith, host of CBC Radio's The World at Six joined Anna Maria in studio to share your views on the program.

Youth Mental Health: Since the New Year, we have been looking at mental health through many different lenses. Tuesday, we looked at adolescent mental health. And we heard from several parents struggling to find appropriate care for their children.

We started with the parents of a 13-year-old-girl who has been showing signs of mental illness since age 3 and has since been diagnosed with a variety of mental and behavioural conditions. The couple say the health care system has abandoned their daughter, whom we cannot identify under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Sharing their stories, prompted others to do the same. We read some of those personal experiences.

Dissociative Disorders: The Current tackled another story in the past week under the mental health umbrella with an in-depth and deeply personal look at what it's like to live with dissociative disorders. The most famous of these is dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder. But there are other related dissociative disorders, and one of our listeners has one.

We agreed to call her Esther to protect her identity. And she told us how her life is affected by 5-year-old Angela, 12-year-old Amanda, 18-year-old Paul - and the four other personalities who share her body. We heard from her.

We also called on some mental health professionals to weigh in. We spoke with a psychologist who treats dissociative identity disorder and to Joel Paris, a professor of psychiatry at McGill University. And his views prompted quite a few of you to hit the keyboard. We shared some of those letters.

Listening to the interview with Esther, one of our listeners was struck by the similarities between her experience - and that of some of the people he has studied in Brazil. Steven Engler is an associate professor of Religious Studies at Mount Royal University. He was in Calgary this morning.

Political Vetting: In this age of instant information, running for political office can leave candidates vulnerable to unexpected pitfalls. Take for instance Dana Larsen. He was running for the federal NDP when videos from his past showed up on online ... specifically, a show he used to host on Pot TV, called Weedy Wednesday Smokefest.

As the prospect of a federal election looms, parties will be busy vetting potential candidates. And the NDP, at least, isn't taking any chances ... in addition to asking potential candidates for full disclosure about their online presence, it's also asking for their personal passwords to social networking sites. Monday on the program, we looked at the evolution of the political vetting process.

The discussion reminded Robert Bandurka of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, of a videotape that surfaced in his province in 2008. He wrote in with his thoughts.

Michael Fertik has a unique perspective on all this. He is the CEO and Founder of Reputation.com. His company designs technology that helps people and corporations manage their reputations by scrubbing their internet history clean. Michael Fertik was in Redwood City, California.

Have you Googled yourself? What pops up on that first half page? Contact us and let us know what you find.

Last Word - Congo Documentary Promo

We ended the program today with a preview of something you can hear in the coming days on The Current. The CBC's Stephen Puddicombe spent some time in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that was devastated by a decade of brutal warfare.

The fighting has mostly stopped for now. But the land issues behind the fighting haven't been resolved. Stephen found tension and conflict in a lot of different places. But he found signs of hope too. We aired a preview of his documentary, Back To The Land.

Other segments from today's show:

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