Letters: College Pressure And Transplant Helpers

NPR's Neal Conan reads listener comments about African-American men, stigma and mental illness, the pressures students feel to succeed in college, and what hospitals are doing to help transplant patients navigate the bureaucracy and fears they often face.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Time now for your comments, which we didn't have time to get to yesterday. Psychiatrist William Lawson joined us last week to talk about why there's often stigma attached to a diagnosis of mental illness among African-American men.

Allan Hurt(ph) in California heard that program and emailed: I've been battling this on a mild level for years. When I've gone seeking help, within minutes, doctors want to write a prescription for some type of narcotics and get me out the door. Many black men, because of the history of using us as lab rats for drugs, as well as being treated different by the law, avoid drugs unless absolutely necessary. There are nuances between races which psychologists and psychiatrists fail to acknowledge, let alone address.

Following our conversation about the pressures on college students to succeed, Anya Fafer(ph) in Flagstaff wrote: I just graduated from a small liberal arts college in Prescott, Arizona with a BS in environmental studies and a minor in adventure education. It was the best undergraduate experience I could have imagined. I now have an internship doing what I love. My advice is to get an interdisciplinary education which represents your passions. Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.

Finally, we spoke with social worker Mary Burge about her job helping transplant patients negotiate the maze of paperwork and hospital bureaucracy they often face. She spoke about her first child transplant patient Lizzy and what a huge responsibility that was because no one had done a heart transplant on such a young child at her hospital before. Well, as it happened, Lizzy was listening and sent this email: Just want you to know I am still doing great. I had my transplant in 1984 and haven't let it hold me back from having a normal life.

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