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to be absolutely fucking livid at this Halloween costume from Asda?

(342 Posts)

This apparently is what a "mental patient" looks like. The description is as follows:

Everyone will be running away from you in fear in this mental patient fancy dress costume. Comprising of a torn blood stained shirt, blood stained plastic meat cleaver and gory facemask it’s a terrifying Halloween option

hmm

What. The. Fuck. Mental health stigma is definitely alive and kicking at Asda, it seems!

I guess for me I'm finding it harder to think of the stigma as being in the past more.

Personal experience so far has had two medical professionals tell me that my son will be taken off me because of my mental health (I have pretty run of the mill chronic depression - nothing that medical professionals should be treating as "out there" and scary).

I've also heard some pretty horrific stuff from my DH and MIL about when he was put in a psych ward at the age of 13! This isn't back in the 60's, we're talking the late 90's.

Mental health, IME, is still treated very badly. Often by those who should know better sad

Moistenedbint1 Fri 27-Sep-13 10:10:57

Was a sign of the times sadly Latara.

bunchoffives Fri 27-Sep-13 10:12:33

I think a lot of the 'residual' attitudes towards mental illness stems from the practice of hospitalizing psychiatric patients in asylums.

The ones I've seen were truly frightening places - big, gothic-style mansions, full of long corridors, and closed off spaces.

Couple that with the fact that detaining people was routine and a cultural acceptance of the loss of human rights prevailed - and you can see why the myths of utter fear and ignorance were so powerful that they have survived in cultural memory.

Also, as a lot of our culture is derived from the USA - where the routine hospitalization of anyone experiencing a mental health problem continues (partly because of the med insurance arrangements) means these attitudes are still circulating.

In fact, I think most of those costumes were manufactured in the US and ASDA/TESCO/AMAZON/EBAY et al simply import them unthinkingly.

Absolutely NOT good enough. It's time retailers took some responsibility for the products they stock - and the people they offend, the damage they do and the stereotypes they perpetuate.

And I think that goes not just for tasteless, prejudiced Halloween costumes, but also for the sexist toys, porn magazines, sexualising clothes, offensive slogans on clothes etc etc.

Sirzy Fri 27-Sep-13 10:14:42

I think we have come a long way from where we were but I think this issue has acutally shown how far we still have to go.

I made the mistake of posting on the discussion on this on a TV show facebook page this morning. Yet again its full of comments saying people need to lighten up, its only a bit of fun etc etc. Shocking that people still see it as acceptable in this day and age to take the piss out of mental health in such a way.

I commented to ask if a "cancer sufferer" costume would be acceptable, I was told I was making an unfair comparison as you can't compare the 2 and of course a cancer sufferer costume would be distasteful. Strangely they couldn't explain why it was ok to take the piss out of one medical condition which ruins lives but not another.

My Dad worked in mental health his whole career, starting in an "assylum" and he is disgusted with this because it shows how far we still need to go and what stigma still exists.

AgentZigzag Fri 27-Sep-13 12:20:34

'big, gothic-style mansions, full of long corridors, and closed off spaces.'

Like most horror films, this is just playing on the fear of isolation.

There aren't many horrors who don't use it in one way or another, it's the thing that frightens us the most.

So being isolated even further by the idea that you're obviously dangerous and frightening because you've got a mental health problem is the stuff of nightmares. (I watched the woman in black for the first time the other night shock it was the isolation technique at it's best, very creepy)

And it's also a bit scary thinking to yourself that maybe you should be scared of yourself, that if you've been diagnosed with something, maybe it's better if you don't inflict yourself on other people if that's how they're thinking.

AgentZigzag Fri 27-Sep-13 12:21:34

Sorry, that's a bit of a mish mash ramble.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 27-Sep-13 13:00:39

I do find it amazing that companies as large as Asda and Tesco don't have PR people with enough about them to think "er...no that is not acceptable or a good idea" and advise accordingly.

ringaringarosy Fri 27-Sep-13 13:08:52

sorry i think is hilarious,its so wrong but so funny.

cannotfuckingbelievethis Fri 27-Sep-13 13:20:00

ringaringarosy - that's a bit like me. I kind of laughed the same way I did when I first saw the Ricky Gervais character in The Office. Laughing but also cringing...

ringaringarosy Fri 27-Sep-13 13:26:51

yes,sorry should of explained,i dont think that its ok to make fun of mental illness,i was more laughing at the fact they actually thought it was a good idea!

mrsbarlow21 Fri 27-Sep-13 15:32:18

Appalling. My DH suffers from consistent Depression - a mental illness - and you would never guess it. he certainly does not look like the appalling caricature that this company wish to promote. Simply unacceptable.

candycoatedwaterdrops Fri 27-Sep-13 16:50:08

I wonder if the people who think this is acceptable have every been as inpatient themselves in a psychiatric ward and have experienced first hand discrimination because of it.

SucksFake Fri 27-Sep-13 21:48:58

Blog by the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

Still an awful lot of work to be done if some people view costumes such as these as acceptable.

AgentZigZag, I think undoubtedly horror films have a lot to answer for in ifluencing people's attitudes to mental illness. Off the top of my head, Halloween, Carrie, Gothika all feature terrible depictions of mental illness. And I say that as a fan of such films! And I was crapping myself the whole way through The Woman In Black!

AgentZigzag Fri 27-Sep-13 22:28:44

I'm a big fan of them too grin

MH needs keep going through the same process as people who have disabilities (and some/a lot of MH problems are a disability), not just the obvious things like access to resources, but to be considered important.

It's not a 'fashionable' subject, and like death, people don't really like thinking about it or being near it, almost like they'll be tainted by association (which I can understand to a certain extent).

It's the difference between the compassion people have for someone who's broken their arm compared to the lack of compassion they might have for someone with MH problems, that's the key.

Why are they seen as different?

katieperez Tue 01-Oct-13 12:24:24

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Eliza22 Wed 02-Oct-13 08:32:46

Many years ago, as a student nurse, I did my 6 month "psych" placement in a large Psychiatric facility. I was nervous about what the patients would be "like" and imagined they'd stand out like a sore thumb as being mentally ill. They didn't at all. That was the scary bit. They were likem me, like you or anyone else. They were just ordinary people who had had difficult times in their life, couldn't cope (often the mental illness was caused by an incident that was "the final straw" as it were) and needed help for an illness.

Often, you couldn't tell the doctors/nurses from the patients in the general setting of the unit.

Obviously, there were residents who were sectioned with conditions that were more than mental breakdown and who were perhaps the stereotype of the "mental patient" but I don't remember seeing anyone with blood soaked clothing and a hatchet sticking out of their head.

How, in the year 2013, can we still perpetuate this stereotype and worse, as a source of fun and entertainment?

samandi Wed 02-Oct-13 08:42:10

I don't have a problem with it (and I've suffered from mental illness). Plenty of things are caricatured. What next, they'll ban witch costumes because it's offensive to pagans (unlikely)?

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