I was disappointed to see your recent advertisement entitled “Tehilim Cured Our Daughter’s Depression.” I recognize that your target audience is Orthodox Jewish, and that prayer is a component of faith, but the title is simplistic and silly at best, and quite offensive and hurtful at worst. Think of the message it sends to people and families suffering from mental illness (or any illness, for that matter): Tehilim cured our daughter, you should try it too. Meaning, God’s reason for bringing this misery upon you is so trivial that reciting a few kapital tehilim will wash it away. Or, prayer cures depression, which means that your prayers haven’t been good enough to be answered. So, it’s your fault you’re sick. How insulting.
It is also ironic how this ad is juxtaposed with two other ads meant to raise awareness about mental illness in the Jewish community, including one placed by Project Ometz, which was specifically created in our community to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness and help families in crisis. Your choice to publish the Tehilim ad completely undermines this initiative and its message. Shame on you for publishing it.
Natie Fox, MD