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StigmaBuster Alert: February 2, 2007

Free Teleconference

On Wednesday, February 7th from 3:00 to 4:30 PM (Eastern Time), the federal government’s ADS Center will sponsor a free teleconference on  "Building Partnerships that Work," an important dimension of the National Anti-Stigma Campaign.

One of the presenters will be Sarah O’Brien, director of NAMI’s In Our Own Voice (IOOV) program.   Find out how the "contact approach" not only breaks down stigma, but also can build partnerships for change. Learn more about participatory dialogue. To participate, please register on-line. Registration closes on February 6th at 5:00 PM.

Be a Hero

NBC-TV’s hit science fiction series Heroes features a main character, Niki, who has "a split personality-type power almost akin to Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde, as it activates during times of great stress or anything life threatening."

Split personality is not the concern. Nor the violence. Nor necessarily the fact that the Nikki’s alter-ego pleads insanity. One StigmaBuster who has lived with disassociative disorder (multiple personalities) has called the depiction "understandable and believeable considering the situation."

Instead, StigmaBusters largely are protesting stigmatizing imagery from the January 22nd episode. Nikki was put in a straitjacket inside a padded cell on a psychiatric ward, and the image was broadcast repeatedly throughout the following week in commercials publicizing the next episode.   On January 29th, the straitjacket was removed and medication discontinued.

Please send a message to the show.

  • Dramatize, don’t stigmatize
  • Straitjackets and padded cells are sensationalized, symbolic images
  • The images perpetuate stigma and are even worse when a plot involves violence
  • The images are cruel and insensitive for anyone who has endured mental illness

Send comments:

Heroes TV Show
NBC Universal Feedback
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608

Not the Cat's Pajamas

The January 19th issue of LIFE weekend magazine included a short interview profile of Kate Walsh, the actress on the television show Grey’s Anatomy. For weekend attire, she stated as her preference: "Men’s flannel pajamas all day. I can look like a mental patient."

Walsh may have said it, but the magazine didn’t have to print it. Would they mock an AIDS or cancer patient? Tell Life how hurtful the comment was, and tell them to pass the message to Kate.

Time & LifeBuilding
New York, NY 10020

Parity Alert: Stories Wanted

Congress may soon move to strengthen legislation prohibiting insurance discrimination against people with serious mental illnesses and their families. Have you been discriminated against? Have different co-pays? Have you run up against limits or reduced days for outpatient visits?  Does your insurance demand higher cost sharing for your medications?  Did your insurance run out and then your savings? NAMI would like to hear your story and consider them for possible use in the debate. No names or identifying details will be used without your permission.

Send to  Please include your daytime phone number, city and state.

Stella March, National Coordinator
NAMI StigmaBusters

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