Thursday, September 26, 2013

Who are you calling mental?

What the ..........????!!!!!!

I was sitting on the sofa idly scrolling through my twitter feed last night when I came across a  comment relating to this travesty in the Asda online catalogue.

By the time I caught up with what was happening, Asda (Walmart to any US readers) had already withdrawn their advertisment for a 'mental patient fancy dress costume', which featured a torn straight jacket, fake blood and a meat cleaver.

All day long there had been complaints bouncing around social media sites, but it took until 11pm at night before an official apology from Asda was posted on Twitter.

Sorry or just found out?

What fascinates and appalls me about this story, quite apart from the obvious horror that in the 21st century a company - or indeed any human being - can think this sort of typecasting stigmatisation is in any way acceptable, is that so many 'thinking' people will have been involved in the chain of events that led to the item being displayed on their website.

It would have been commissioned, designed, and marketed. People whose job it is to imagine what it is the public want will have signed off on this.

Well, the public have spoken. And it's a no from us, I'm afraid.

And yet it still took Asda, and indeed Tesco who sold a similarly ghastly product, until late in the day until the damage control was set in motion - including a promise of a sizeable donation to the mental health charity 'Mind'.

I imagine there are a few uncomfortable meetings taking place within their walls today.

The only good to come of this, apart from that donation, is the realisation that society as a whole has come a long way on this issue - judging by the public's reaction. Clearly there is an awfully long way to go however before the 1 in 4 of us who suffer some sort of mental health issue can feel comfortable enough to express such problems openly and without fear of reprisals or derision.

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