• Breaking News

    Wednesday, 25 January 2017

    About Our Campaign (trigger warning)

    In the weeks leading up to Halloween 2016, members from the mental health community group The Safe Haven Cafe Project began posting images of mental health related products produced for sale in the UK. It was clear from the comments from groups and individuals who responded, that this was a major source of concern and anger among many in the mental health community both in the UK and elsewhere.
    Halloween has become a time of year when the manufacture of products that demonise or stigmatise is in the public eye, as every year retailers become forced to withdraw from sale products that customers & campaigners bring to their attention.

    2016 was a particularly bad year for offensive mental health stigmatising products.

    In the UK, supermarket chain Morrisons came under pressure for selling a Halloween curtain with the words "Asylum No One Leaves". After a sustained campaign, Morrisons finally withdrew the product.

    In the US, the particularly gruesome Halloween appliance below marketed under the name 'Cruel World', was sold by the US chain Wal-Mart. Many campaigners in the US, UK and elsewhere highlighted their concerns to Wal-Mart in a (successful) campaign to stop the sale of this product. But should it have been available to customers in the first place?

    In the UK, according to the Mental Health Foundation, we have "the highest self-harm rate of any country in Europe with estimates of 400 in 100,000 people self-harm.These figures are likely to be higher as many people who self-harm do not tell anyone about it."

    With these facts in mind, any attempt by manufacturers to trivialise, stigmatise or minimise this public health epidemic, seems particularly offensive and immoral.

    And yet, the manufacture and sale of products that target & perpetuate mental health stigma continues unchallenged, despite important breakthroughs in disability legislation in the UK.

    As an example, this manufacturer produces realistic self-harm products which are available to buy (at the time of writing) from on one of the largest online retailers in the UK. And in case the viewer is left in any doubt as to who these products are being sold to, note the faces used in the ads!

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