Monday, November 1, 2010

A Gracious NPR Reply

by Michael J. Fitzpatrick, Executive Director

In the best of all worlds, blogs help build community. Last week, our blog discussion was part of broader communication that helped worked through some difficult issues involving the recent NPR controversy.

Following up on my last entry, I want to share (below) the reply of NPR president & CEO Vivian Schiller to NAMI’s letter. We also talked by phone. Ms. Schiller fully understands NAMI’s concerns. She extended a sincere apology. I accepted it on behalf of all NAMI members and others who contacted us.

I also want to note that NPR’s reply is one of the swiftest, most straightforward responses NAMI has ever had to a stigma concern. That’s consistent with the NPR that we have long known to be fair and compassionate in its reporting on mental illness.



October 28, 2010

Michael J. Fitzpatrick
Executive Director
National Alliance on Mental Illness
3803 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203-1701

Dear Mr. Fitzpatrick:

Thank you for your letter dated October 26.1 appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me.

I have great compassion and respect for those who live with mental illness,
and tremendous regard for the mental health professionals and organizations
such as NAMl who serve and advocate on their behalf.

I believe that consulting a mental health professional should be as
unremarkable as seeing any other health care professional.

I deeply regret my unintentionally hurtful remark. Please extend my heartfelt
apology to those individuals and families who battle against the undeserved
stigma of mental illness everyday.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Vivian Schiller
President and CEO

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

First of all Michael, I do not know what NPR is. In the future would you please spell out what it is? And all other initials like this! Thanks.
Secondly, I would like to say that you are doing a fine job and most everyone I speak to about NAMI's leadership are very pleased. Have a good healthful day!

Howard said...

Michael, I must say that gracious though the NPR reply may have been, it was without substance. Schiller's response completely ignored your call for action within NPR. I hope you will not let them off the hook!

Howard Drescher

David said...

Do you think the response took more than 2 minutes for an aid to write? If sincere, it should be personally and publicly broadcast on National Public Radio. If not sincere, this will be extent of her release.

Harold A. Maio said...

"I believe that consulting a mental health professional should be as unremarkable as seeing any other health care professional," Schiller wrote in her letter. "I deeply regret my unintentionally hurtful remark. Please extend my heartfelt apology to those individuals and families who battle against the undeserved stigma of mental illness everyday." National Public Radio (NPR) president and CEO, Vivian Schiller
So she believes a mental illness is a "stigma." That is not an apology, that is an affront.

Harold A. Maio, retired mental health editor
khmaio@earthlink.net

Harold A. Maio said...

"I believe that consulting a mental health professional should be as unremarkable as seeing any other health care professional," Schiller wrote in her letter. "I deeply regret my unintentionally hurtful remark. Please extend my heartfelt apology to those individuals and families who battle against the undeserved stigma of mental illness everyday." National Public Radio (NPR) president and CEO, Vivian Schiller
So she believes a mental illness is a "stigma." That is not an apology, that is an affront.

Harold A. Maio, retired mental health editor
khmaio@earthlink.net

Sue said...

I am totally with Harold and David. This is NO apology! This person does not understand the first thing about mental illness or the "stigma" that people like them perpetuate. I had a sister who died as a result of her mental illness-LIVE WITH THAT and try being snarky about someone seeking professional help-my sister could NOT afford help and eventually died homeless on the streets-we could not even find her-she did NOT deserve that! This was an insult to my sister. You should be ashamed!

Anonymous said...

If consulting a psychiatrist should be no more momentous than consulting a podiatrist, rheumatologist or other health care professional, then why is it insulting to say someone should have spoken with psychicatrist or publicist? It's a sarcastic statement, but I don't see how it is a slur to field of pyschiatry or those who visit psychiatrists, psychologist and other mental health professionals. I took the statement to mean that the person should have, perhaps, take a closer look at his feelings, motivations, etc., for making such a statement, or, barring that, at least find out what impact the statement might have on his reputation. I may be missing something, or a lot about the context, nuances, implications, of what was said.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Schiller's arrogance in her comments about Juan Williams are reflective of NPR in general. I agree with those who say it is not really an apology. Her comments were part of a larger spin control after the firing of a decent moderate man. One who is highly respected by both the politically left and right.

Wanda said...

Oh please. Your immediate call to attention of Vivian Schiller's beyond thoughtless, hurtful and inappropriate use of words was excellent; however, her letter was merely perfunctory. Perhaps your phone conversation revealed more enlightenment on her part, but the on-the-record response appeared to me to be "unremarkable" and consistent with her recent possibly impetuous behavior that started the whole episode.

In any event, I thank you for all you do on behalf of those who need your voice.

Veronica said...

Nothing Gracious about NPR's Reply...

You are right NPR is no Burger King, is worse. I can believe you let that woman (Ms Schiller NPR's CEO) off the hook so easy, and believed her apology was sincere. Her ill intentions were to ruin Juan Williams' reputation and credibility by implying he is mentally ill when she made her insensitive comment, and offended the character and credibility of any person with mental illness.

Veronica
Northern California