Vectorman

6 Products That Mocked Mental Health

Posted on September 16, 2017

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Poundland have received widespread criticism from mental health organisations and politicians this week for selling a brand of sweets called “Nutters”. Many whom are demanding to have them removed from their stores with immediate effect. Not only do they have the ignominy of being called a name many would describe as highly offensive they’ve been further berated for their packaging that shows boggle-eyed cartoon characters, painting campaigners are saying a negative image of those with mental health issues.

Is this a sign of the times, are we too easily offended or was this product perpetrating a negative view of those with mental health problems and rightfully should be pulled?. That’s all open to debate but this isn’t the first time it’s happened and certainly won’t be the last

1990 saw the film release of Crazy People starring the late great Dudley Moore and Daryl Hannah. The title alone was enough to send droves into a frenzy but it was the films billboard campaign that was met with the most disapproval due to the insensitive nature of it’s slogan, it read. “Warning Crazy People Are Coming” which was said to imply that those with a mental illness are a danger to society. Having received a backlash they subsequently changed it to the more palatable though still slightly questionable “Inside every normal person something is waiting to get out”.. In 2013 (it was a good year for complaints departments) and at a time that greatly divides opinion ‘Halloween’. Asda and later Tesco had to apologise for selling it’s Psycho Ward and Ghoulish range of costumes that were said to stigmatise mental health sufferers. Campaigners expressed concern of the discriminatory depictions of mental illness. Hardly a surprise given on the back of the Psycho Ward outfit were the words “Committed”. The description left little to the imagination described as being the costume to have if you wish to be seen in the most thrilling psycho killer outfit of all time. The Ghoulish ad took it a stage further featuring a man covered in blood stains and brandishing a meat cleaver,  a “mental patient fancy dress costume” read the product description. The Twitter furor was vigorous and incessant, consumers and celebrities were quick to express their utter disgust and contempt for Asda and Tesco for their insensitivity. Leading Asda to make a £25,000 donation to the Time to Change anti-stigma campaign run by Mind

2013 also saw McDonald’s forced to apologise after an unapproved ad campaign slipped through the net of their marketing department and ended up on the Boston metro. The ad read “You’re not alone. Millions of people love the Big Mac” alongside it is a picture of a young woman clearly looking in distress and underneath is displayed a phone number in what is said to be a parody of a mental health help line ads..

Another film now but not for any real controversies per say. Actress Glenn Close in an interview in 2013 said sorry everyone for her portrayal of mental illness in Fatal Attraction. In her words she regrets playing up to the stereo-types of the day, that mental illness equals violence.

 

Most people who commit violent crimes do not have a diagnosed mental illness. That is wrong, and it’s proven wrong and it is immoral to keep that perpetrated.

Asked what illness her character has she answered “Clérambault’s syndrome” a paranoid delusion based on the false assumption that a figure of admiration is in love with them. Although she maintained that this was never discussed during production.

Last month August 2017 ‘The Range’ a home, garden and leisure retail chain issued an apology for stocking metal wall plaques that depicted OCD in what was meant to be a lighthearted and comical fashion but was seen as mocking those who have the illness. One read “I have got OCD: Obsessive Cat Disorder” and the other “I have got OCD: Obsessive Cake Disorder”

Should it simply be a matter of these various industries taking greater responsibility, into account the needs of those with a mental illness. I ask you, could it be we are in danger of becoming a people that’s too sensitive for our own good in an age of political correctness. Maybe it’s a little of both?

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