Letter: How not to call people names

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The Independent Online
LYNN BARBER might like to read her own paper. The article about assaults by nursing staff on patients, particularly patients labelled 'mentally ill' or 'mentally handicapped' appeared only the week before last. Her description of people obsessed by the famous as 'urgently in need of psychiatric treatment' ('Give them their proper names', 27 June) is not only offensive to those of us on the receiving end of psychiatry - it is also fallacious.

Most people convicted of rape, murder, sexual abuse and assault are deemed sane. Offenders go to prison. People receiving psychiatric treatment are more likely to be the subject of violence and abuse than the perpetrator. Please ask Ms Barber to renew her cliches: the 'violent nutter' is not only hackneyed, it is also inaccurate.

Andy Smith

London NW1

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