A Letter to the Editor is an easy way to make a big impact. The editorial page is the most read section of the newspaper. Even if the editor doesn't publish your letter, they pay attention — especially to well-written letters related to a recently published article.
- Make it relevant: Make sure your topic is timely — write in response to a recent article.
- Be concise: The first sentence should summarize your position. A common mistake is using the first paragraph (or the entire letter) to build to the point. Most editors read 2-3 sentences before making a decision to go on.
- Mind your word count: Check the guidelines for the paper you are targeting. If they give a word count, follow it. If they don't, 200 words is generally considered the maximum length. Most papers don't consider letters that exceed the word count.
- Check your spelling: Spell everything correctly and pay close attention to grammar. Editors choose well-written letters that meet their guidelines.
- Submit the letter: On the website of your local paper, find the email address to submit a letter to the editor. When you send your letter, paste your letter directly into the body of an email rather than sending as an attachment. Many editors won't open attachments.
Examples:The following published Letters were submitted by Louise Lemieux White, Co Founder of Families for Addiction Recovery.
Better mental-health solutions
In response to End 'two-tier' mental-health care system, Michael Kirby urges
“End ‘two-tier’ mental health care system”, Michael Kirby urges. Former Senator Michael Kirby co-authored the “Out of the Shadows” report 10 years ago. Since then The Canadian Institute for Health Information has documented a 45% increase in ER admissions for youth with mental illness, a 58% increase in admissions for this same population, a 37% return to the ER for 3 or more visits and an 11% return to inpatient units 3 or more times. This comes with a huge cost to government not to mention the pain and anguish felt by families. Demand for services continues to grow by 10% each year. Is it not time for government to invest in a solution? Children’s Mental Health Ontario proposed to the government of Ontario a tiered system of care to address the growing needs of youth with mental illness and suggests a savings of 375M$ to the province. Alternatively, the government can continue to incur the huge price tag of over 700M$ over the next five years if the system is not changed. Lives will continue to be lost and families will continue to feel the burden of illness if nothing is done.
Louise Lemieux White
Published February 17, 2016 in the Ottawa Citizen
Help Needed Now
“Canada falling behind on children’s mental health” says Senator Michael Kirby. The “Out of the Shadows” report, which he co-authored, was released 10 years ago. Has anything changed? Report after report concludes that children suffer or die as a result of a lack of service for youth affected with mental illness. Youth who self medicate to ease the pain of mental illness are even worse off with respect to services. We sent our 14 year old to the USA for care because we were told that Ontario could not meet her mental health and subsequent addiction needs without a 14 month wait. This would have been a death sentence. If this were cancer, the care would have been found and paid for by our health care system. Children’s Mental Health Ontario has just submitted a request to the government highlighting how an investment now, would save the government of Ontario up to 700M$ in hospital costs over the next 5 years. The time for much needed change to save children’s lives is now.
Louise Lemieux White
Published: February 12, 2016 in the Ottawa Sun