And another thing… (26 October 2016)

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Mental health: Why we need to give our young people the tools to cope with today’s world
It is worrying that, as a nation, we are failing to arm our children with a basic understanding of their own mental health – one of the most necessary tools for navigating the adult world – and it is encouraging to see [October 12] that the Self-Esteem Team are visiting schools to address the issue.

The school curriculum has become better in recent years, implanting courses for financial education and bettering the compulsory physical classes.

We may finally be realising that poor awareness has an impact on the whole of society, and can now acknowledge that financial classes and physical health are both conducive to the wellbeing of the next generations.

All encouraging progress, yet why are these sectors deemed worthy of the attention of greater education when mental health is left almost non-existent?

There is freedom of choice, high competition for jobs, more pressure than ever to decide what you want to do in life, incredibly early in life, and on top of that a million different information sources plus stimuli that could overload even the most mature brain.

Since the stigma of mental ill-health is still an issue, we should be teaching all children to understand the problems from a young age, and how to deal with them.

A one-off assembly on mental health simply isn’t enough. It is essential we give children and young people the tools they need to cope with a world that is constantly conspiring to find new ways to squander their self-esteem and mental health.

Lauren Jones
Via email

Immigrants: Another point of view
Your correspondent Nigel Wallace is correct [October 12] that Britain has welcomed many immigrants in the past.

However, quite apart from the problem of finding sufficient employment, housing and health resources to deal with a large influx of people, he is overlooking the fact that the vast majority of earlier migrants were prepared to accept the cultural norms of our society and make every effort to integrate with the host community.

Unfortunately, what we now have is a large number of people from countries with very different cultural assumptions to ours, many of whom are not prepared to make the compromises necessary to fit into our culture.

If, within their own societies, they wish to treat women as second-class citizens, criminalise those of a different sexual orientation, and apply savage penalties to those who break their laws, then – while we may not approve – we have no right to tell them that they may not do so.

However, we do have the right to expect that anyone coming to live in the UK is willing to abide by our fundamental beliefs of equality, and we should not be expected to allow parallel systems of law to be set up to accommodate the religious beliefs of those arriving from abroad.

I suspect that those of a liberal persuasion who advocate open borders would be horrified if they found that the underlying assumptions of our modern society were to be replaced by the norms of the Middle East.

Colin Bullen
Via email

Council: Why still drilling in Calverley?
What exactly is going on with the expensive and capital intensive [civic complex] plan for our Tunbridge Wells? Scrutiny by some ‘in the know’ voters has questioned the basis and viability of the plans, leading to our councillors making major ‘u-turns’ and cancellations – even though some contracts appear to have been awarded with preliminary work started.

The £50million cost is planned to be paid by ratepayers and the doubling of car parking fees – measures that have questionable support.

And why is there still drilling in Calverley Grounds when the plans for an underground car park there have been abandoned? Does this mean our representatives are continuing to drill in the hope of striking oil or gas to pay for these overly-ambitious plans for our town?

Edward La Coste

Fireworks: The scourge of our pets
I would like to make a plea to your readers to help protect our pets from the scourge of fireworks, which scare the living daylights out of them.

This time of year, of course, there are displays everywhere to coincide with Bonfire Night, and pet owners know perfectly well to keep an eye on their animals and be sensible. But please, don’t keep it going night after night. Aren’t the big public displays sufficient?

It’s bad enough that New Year has become a firework festival these days, with every Tom, Dick and Harriet letting off a few desultory bangers in the garden. But now it seems everyone has to light up the skies to celebrate their birthday or barbecue or buying a new mower, or whatever. Stop it! You’re giving our cats and dogs the flaming heebie-jeebies simply so you can enjoy some ridiculously small-scale personal thrill.

It’s not that great, is it? So why bother? As pet owners, we shouldn’t have to protect them from selfish individuals every day of the year.

Peter Robinson
Via email

Roy Bullock: Deserves some respect
It’s astonishing that the current Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [David Jukes] suggests that any letter he disagrees with [October 12] should be trashed.

Roy Bullock [a former leader] played a key role in local government and his current views deserve to be treated with respect.

This is more than a just a journalistic brouhaha. It perfectly illustrates the arrogant and dismissive attitude of the council to ordinary citizens.

I have written two letters to the council in the last six months concerning a petition I ran about community ownership of the Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons. I have received no reply, merely one acknowledgement.

I assume that my letters have been binned.

Terry Cload

FSB: Wrong impression about my role
I read your article [October 12] re the Federation of Small Businesses and would like to point out that most of the regional offices will be closing due to restructuring.

I took voluntary redundancy from my position as ROA [Regional Office Administrator] alongside a few other colleagues. Your article seems to imply that I was part of the goings-on within the regional team, and as a staff member I was not even aware of such things.

I was employed by the FSB as ROA to support members of the Kent and Medway area.

Sue Waldock
Via email

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