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Reader's view: Patty Duke was beautiful from the inside out

Duluth, Superior and our surrounding areas were honored to have Patty Duke and her husband, Michael, visit us. The audience of more than 500 at the Holiday Inn Lakeside Ballroom anxiously waited to hear what she would have to say. She did not disappoint (“Duke encourages treatment for bipolar disorder,” May 30).

She shared with honesty, sincerity and humor bits of her life, struggle and recovery with bipolar disorder, and she received bursts of applause after many of her comments. She praised the efforts and presence of our innovative Amberwing facility for family wellness, which provides help to children as young as 3 through young adults. It felt good to hear her stamp of approval on this wonderful place in our area as she is one so prominent in speaking out for the hope of finding help for those of us who need it.

I praise her for her firm stance in helping to open up a dialogue and break down the stigma that continues to surround mental health and financial support.

Duke spoke for an hour and then opened the floor for nearly another hour for questions and answers. Hands were raised and microphones were passed for individuals to speak. I couldn’t help but think how each one of us present was helped in some way by her insightful responses.

Later that day I saw Minnesota’s U.S. Sen. Al Franken and his spot on TV promoting better funding for mental health. This made me think that the time is right for more open conversations about issues of the brain. Now is the time to educate people that mental illness is a medical diagnosis and can be treated. Let us not be fearful but willing to reach out. There is hope.

Viola LaBounty

Solon Springs