An open letter to Katie Hopkins

From the President of Mental Wealth (Student Minds) Cambridge University

Dear Katie,

I think we should talk about mental health.

I was directed to your interview in the Tab by a friend who warned me that it would ‘hit a nerve’. I was intrigued; your highly publicised views on children’s names and people who have ginger hair have only ever indirectly struck me as faintly ridiculous. However, when the nonsense becomes vitriol, and is injected into the subject of mental health, my friend was right to know that I would be enraged.

As President of Student Minds Cambridge, and one of the founding trustees of teenage mental health charity ‘The Invictus Trust’, I deplore your views, and felt it necessary to set you right on a few things; not just on the behalf of everybody who has suffered from mental health issues in Cambridge, but also on behalf of all those who are working to raise awareness and change attitudes towards mental health across the country.

Firstly, the lowlight of your comments for me was that depression is a “default position” for “people who have not been able to get a grip on their lives”. This statement is not only cruelly-worded, but also a wildly misinformed generalisation. Suggesting that depression is a “default position” implies that most people suffering with mental health issues use it as an excuse or justification to moan, when in fact the majority of mental health sufferers don’t admit to their issues, let alone seek help. Here in Cambridge, whilst 92% of students have experienced mental distress, only 17% have sought any kind of help. That shows neither strength nor weakness; mental health issues are mired with shame, suffocated in stigma, and are often struggled with in private, and it is careless comments like these that damage any effort for change.



10 thoughts on “An open letter to Katie Hopkins

  1. that “woman”,id woman she is..(and i have my doubts..) is more mentally ill than the actual mentally ill.but unlike the actual mentally ill, i cannot find any good thoughts about her. only things like nasty,vindictive, and similar. makes my blood boil every time i hear her name let alone read what she has said. but good on Amber Cowburn for trying. hope it does do some good.unfortunately i doubt the letter will even hit a nerve with Ms Hopkins. she doesnt have in her what is needed for it to affect her,except maybe to bring forth more of her nastiness.

  2. Why she is on TV, in radio interviews and newspaper articles is beyond me – she’s evil and twisted but that’s what the media likes. They are the ones paying out money for such a vindictive “woman”, who is actually been found to be a fraud. Plus, she’s bankrupt…

  3. I used to be a MH Nurse in Cambridge. I felt privileged to work with both staff and students of the university, back in the 1990s. I learnt so much from them as I tried to hep their distress

  4. I think we should be cautious of being so negative about Katie. Although not confirmed, there has been a proposed link between epilepsy and aspergers, and she has openly admitted her epilepsy. Interestingly enough, she did so during her weight gain, when she felt out of her comfort zone and out of control. Poeple suffering conditions or illness can seek support or build up walls of “security”, her’s apparently being the latter; she exercised and controlled her physique to mask what she sees as a neurological weakness. That may be why she picks on others too, particularly those that may be viewed as weaker. Could be she is not even aware of her “bullying” coping mechanisms. Her ways and characteristics have been accepted and even celebrated by some, perhaps the majority of which reside in the business world. This strengthens my argument as it has been shown in many studies that the upper end of business (CEOs, executives etc) house a high number of people with suspected personality disorders and unempathetic behavioural patterns, such as sociopaths. But this is not to say good business can not be conducted by those of a very well balanced mental health, it most certainly can! The same can be found in some religious people. People have a right to have faith, as long as it is fair and does not harm others (sometimes this means keeping private!) but as seen in fundamentalist examples, be it a christain or a muslim etc, the people are obsessively convinced of their own views; in a debate, nothing will deflect them from their beliefs. Katie’s similar attitute to her own opinions and lack of empathy hint to a possibility of aspergers (in my opinion) which as a neurological condition can in turn be associated with mental ilness, especially if she sees her epilepsy as a “weakness” she needs to fight every day. She may adamantly believe her views, relish attention – even if it’s negative! It reiterates her feeling of ‘me against the world’ ‘her mission’ ‘it’s lonely at the top’ and let’s face airtime = money and she’s no fool) and yes, she may actually take pleasure in offending others but she isn’t a monster. She is acting like someone with mental health issues, I see it in her at least (I have a biomedical background). I do not hate her or pity her, but think we should take the link between neurological conditions and mental health in to account, before we judge her.

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