Leading North East mental health charity calls for retailers to support mental health sufferers

Release date: 26 September 2013

Mental Health North East (MHNE) is calling on the retailers who were selling 'Mental Patient' and 'Psycho Ward' costumes to join the fight to overcome the stigma faced by people with mental health issues.

MHNE, which has a membership of 386 North East based organisations, has been inundated by calls from organisations and individuals who are disgusted that anyone could have imagined that selling costumes like this was acceptable.

Lyn Boyd, CEO of MHNE said, "This is not an issue that can be quickly swept under the carpet by a quick apology and a bag of money.

"In recompense for their appalling treatment and stigmatisation of mental health sufferers, at the very least these large retail outlets should:

Invite Mental Health Voluntary organisations into their stores to raise funds and speak to both customers and staff to explain the reality of living with mental ill health.
Ensure that management staff receive mental health awareness training
Develop policies in relation to the treatment of staff and customers suffering mental ill health
Work with mental health charities on a national, regional and local level to positively engage in activities that give a better understanding of mental ill health

"MHNE will be writing to these outlets on behalf of our members and we, along with our members, will not rest until we have assurances that changes will be made."

A mental health sufferer who volunteers for one of MHNE's member organisations has backed their stand.

"I am so pleased that MHNE has taken such a strong stand against Asda and Tesco and the appalling connection they have portrayed between mental ill health and graphic sadistic imagery.

"I think we need to bear in mind that this type of stereotyping affects not only the image of people with mental health problems in general but it also affects individuals directly - when a former employer of mine discovered I had experienced a depressive illness, it was suggested that I 'could be an axe murderer'!"

Ends

This release was issued by Jane Byrne at The Communications Cooperative. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07794 290 176.