How to measure human suffering?

I would like to respond to the anonymous man who wrote to you today to give you his opinion on the current pandemic situation. We the youngest, parents of children or adolescents, are tired of this type of one-sided narrative where the suffering and misery caused by the pandemic and confinement, are ridiculed by those who consider that all this ” crying it’s basically just the jeremiads of spoiled children.

Should we excuse something bad with something worse? And how exactly do you measure the degree of suffering of a people? By the fact that he is starving in a family or a society that supports and helps each other, or that of a people with full bellies but deeply divided, where children and adolescents are thinking of committing suicide at the 8 or 10 years old? (And who sometimes take action…)

Today we see elementary school children receiving prescriptions for Prozac. Unheard of according to Mr. Charles Harvey who has been working as a school psychologist for thirty years. And what about the 85% increase in medication for children under four? I don’t have words strong enough to describe what this made me feel at the bottom of my heart, me who is a mother and who has worked with children of this age group for more than 15 years.

These doubtful remarks between the sufferings of the past and those of today are unworthy of a real reflection on the well-being of a community. What are we really trying to do when we say that things used to be so much worse than they are now? What is the purpose of this exercise exactly? It’s not a competition and it doesn’t take anything away from this psychic misery which rages heavily in our society and which brings its share of horrors and tragedies.

We are not all equal in the face of the difficulties of life, and some, more vulnerable, will need a lot of support and specialized services to recover from the consequences of the pandemic and confinement. And it will take much more than meditation, as you suggested, to bring many of these children and young people who have suffered during this period back on their feet. And unfortunately, for some of them, it is already too late.

Natalie Cossette, mother, citizen and educational advisor in daycare services

It is a fact that the misfortunes of the past should in no way obscure those of today. But perhaps you forgot to read that he also affirmed in his message that “Good and evil will always exist on earth and in equal proportion, no matter how much progress is made”. As for the suggestion to indulge in meditation, a suggestion that also came from this anonymous man, it was not intended to solve all the evils caused by the pandemic, but rather to encourage us to return to ourselves- even to reflect, instead of just complaining. And this suggestion was addressed to everyone.

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How to measure human suffering?

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