Published: 15/07/2004, Volume II4, No. 5914 Page 21

'Mad' is a nice short word which is often applied to the users of mental health services (The Big Story, pages 10-11, 1 July).

Perhaps it is time that we encouraged people to use it publicly again.

Many people with mental illness, and those who care for them, use the word in private.

Perhaps as part of the attack on stigmatisation we should ask them to explain to the public what exactly they mean by madness, and then The Sun could do us some snappy headlines.

'Service users' is a bit of a copout. Some of the people who use mental health services are not thought to be mad by the people who know them. And there are plenty of people who do not use any services who seem pretty mad to me.

Martin Rathfelder Socialist Health Association