|National Alliance on Mental Illness
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StigmaBusting Network and Alerts
NAMI STIGMABUSTERS ALERT
April 5, 2000.
|Contact Information: |
Ms. Stella March, Coordinator
NAMI StigmaBusters now number more than 4,200 dedicated advocates across the country who are fighting the pervasive and damaging stigma that exists toward mental illness.
Numbers count! Together, we can end the stigma!
WONDERLAND SPECIAL ALERT # 2
"Wonderland" the new dramatic television series based in a psychiatric hospital premiered 10:00 p.m., Thursday, March 30th, on ABC opposite ER. The following is for your further information and action, including a list of the corporate sponsors of "Wonderland" whom we must alert about the impact of this series:
1. ABC Message Board
2. Corporate Sponsors of "Wonderland"
3. NAMI Letter to A Sponsor of "Wonderland"
4. Coalition Call on White House to Fight Stigma in Entertainment Industry
1. ABC Message Board
All NAMI StigmaBusters are encouraged to go to the ABC message board at the following web site to comment on the show. Click on:
2. SPONSORS Of 'Wonderland' March 30, 2000 Premiere
Please send your comments to the following:
Ichiro Taniguchi, President & CEO
Mitsubishi Electric Corp.
Mitsubishi Denki Building
Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo 100-8310
166 Highland Park Dr.
Bloomfiled, CT 06002
Bruce Rohde, Chairman & CEO
ConAgra/ Orville Redenbacher
1 ConAgra Dr.
Omaha, Nebraska 68102
cc: James P. O'Donnell, Executive VP
3770 Realty Rd.
Addison, Texas 75001-4311
Arthur C. Martinez
Chairman/President & CEO
Sears Roebuck & Company
3333 Beverly Rd.
Hoffman Estates, IL 60719
Charles M. Berger, Chairman & CEO
The Scotts Company/Miracle Gro
14111 Scottslawn Rd.
Marysville, OH 43041
cc: James Hagedorn, President & COE
Cynthia Truedell, CEO
100 Saturn Pkwy.
Mail Drop S-24
Spring Hill, TN 37174
Danny Abraham, CEO
Slim Fast Foods Company
P.O. Box 3625
West Palm Beach, FL 33402
Stacey H. Davis, President & CEO
Fannie Mae Foundation
4000 Wisconsin Ave., NW North Tower
Washington, DC 20016-2804
John F. Smith, Jr., CEO
Chevrolet Division/General Motors
100 Renaissance Dr.
Detroit, Michigan 48265
Dave Liniter, CEO
Remax Real Estate
8390 East Crescent Pkwy.
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Ralph S. Larsen, Chairman & CEO
Johnson & Johnson & Merck/ Mylanta
7050 Camp Hill Rd
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Monistat Healthy Woman
Advanced Care Products
US Route 202
Raritan, NJ 08869
Paulo Costa, President & CEO
Novartis Pharmaceuticals/ Gas X
500 Morris Ave.
Summit, NJ 07901
Lodewijk J.R. de Vink, Chairman,
President & CEO
Warner-Lambert Company/ Schick
201 Tabor Rd.
Morris Plains, NJ 07950-2693
cc: John F. Walsh, VP,
President-Shaving Products Group
Yosho Inaba, President & CEO
19001 South Western Ave.
Torrance, CA 90509
Neil Glickfield, President
725 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
Ken Hicks, President
Payless ShoeSource, Inc.
3231 SE Sixth St.
Topeka, KS 66607
Orrin Doxer, President
24 Wilson Way
Westwood, MA 02090
Shannon Lapierre, Public Relations Manager
500 Staples Dr.
Framingham, MA 01702
3. NAMI LETTER TO A WONDERLAND SPONSOR
Cynthia Truedell, Chief Executive Officer
100 Saturn Pkwy, Mail Drop S-24
Spring Hill, TN 37174
Dear Ms. Truedell:
Like millions of Americans, NAMI members last night watched the premiere episode of ABC's Wonderland, a new television program that reinforces the pervasive ignorance and stigma that exists toward serious mental illness. We believe this program presents a sensational and one-dimensional portrayal that reduces people with mental illnesses to caricatures or stereotypes-subjects of humor or derision.
By making such a strong link between mental illness and violence, Wonderland hurts my own daughter and countless others who struggle toward recovery. Set in a big-city psychiatric hospital, Wonderland offers only a very narrow view of our world involving the most extreme cases.
I was shocked and upset to see that the Saturn Corporation provided commercial sponsorship for Wonderland. Your company must not be aware of the content of this program or its devastating impact. One in five American families is affected by mental illness, and, already, NAMI has received scores of complaints from its members who are alarmed that ABC would allow such a program on the air.
To continue your present relationship with Wonderland will result in the erosion of support for your company from these important customers-those who face daily and overcome the challenges of mental illness.
We strongly urge you to pull your sponsorship and to join us in countering the terrible effects of this program.
NAMI has formed a coalition of national mental health organizations, the Mental Health Coalition Against Stigma, to demand that ABC and the producers of Wonderland take immediate steps to tone down the extreme violence, including a graphic suicide scene in next week's episode, and to put a disclaimer at the beginning of each show to warn viewers that the content is very intense and disturbing.
(I have attached a copy of the Coalition's "Call to Action.")
I would be happy to provide you with any assistance possible to support our efforts and look forward to receiving your response.
4. "WONDERLAND" PREMIERE BRINGS CALL ON WHITE HOUSE TO FIGHT STIGMA IN ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY
Mental Health Organizations Broaden Protests
Arlington, VA. As ABC Entertainment prepares tonight to premiere its new series, Wonderland, nine major mental health organizations have joined together as the Mental Health Coalition Against Stigma in Hollywood, calling on the White House to use its influence with the entertainment industry to help lead a challenge the stigmatization of mental illness in movies and television shows.
"Wonderland" is the latest in a long-line of movies and television shows featuring plots and characters that connect mental illness with violence or depict people with mental illness primarily as caricatures or stereotypes-subjects of humor or derision," the coalition declared in a national call to action. "We doubt very much that Entertainment would have portrayed another group in America in such a manner."
The coalition also called the show "a public health hazard," because it may discourage people from seeking or continuing needed treatment. "It does not reflect the vision of the recent White House Conference on Mental Health and the U.S. Surgeon General's report on Mental Health, as well as the Surgeon General's call to action for the prevention of suicides."
The coalition called specifically on the newly-organized National Mental Health Awareness Campaign, the bipartisan public-private foundation which emerged from last year's White House Conference on Mental Health to the effort against stigma in the entertainment industry, and for the White House "to use its influence with the industry" to reinforce positive messages.
The following is the full text of the call to action with a list of its signers:
MENTAL HEALTH COALITION AGAINST STIGMA IN HOLLYWOOD A NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION
Wonderland is the latest in a long line of movies and television programs featuring plots and characters that connect mental illness with violence or depict people with mental illness primarily as caricatures or stereotypes - subjects of humor or derision. What makes Wonderland so especially hurtful is the fact that in its current form, the show represents an opportunity lost-as the first and only television show focusing on themes involving mental illness.
Wonderland is about a big-city forensic psychiatric hospital, offering only a narrow view of our world and involving only extreme cases. We do not deny the realism of some of what the show presents, but we reject its theme, which is one of no hope. It does not accurately reflect the reality of our world. It also does not reflect the vision of the recent White House Conference on Mental Health and the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, as well as the Surgeon General's call to action for the prevention of suicide.
Wonderland is about stereotyping and increasing stigma. We doubt very much that ABC Entertainment would have portrayed any other group in America in such a manner.
Wonderland also is a public health hazard. We do not call for censorship, but we warn the public that the show's frequent message that treatment does not work may hurt and create emotional turmoil in people who struggle with mental illnesses, and discourage people from seeking or continuing needed treatment.
We emphasize that Wonderland is not alone in its impact. It represents an alarming pattern in the entertainment industry, broken only occasionally by a very few enlightened movies or shows. In the 1980s, Americans came to see people with developmental disabilities in a much different light when highly functional characters-"Bennie" in L.A. Law and "Corky" in Life Goes On-appeared on their television screens. Why is there no lawyer, patient's advocate or other professional on Wonderland who also happens to successfully manage bipolar disorder (manic-depression)? Why are people with schizophrenia portrayed as killers or victims and never heroes, or even simply law-abiding, productive members of the community?
We call on the newly-organized National Mental Health Awareness Campaign, the bipartisan public-private foundation which emerged from last year's White House Conference on Mental Health, to lead an immediate effort to challenge the stigmatization of mental illness by the entertainment industry. We also call on the White House to use its influence with the industry, as it has with its anti-drug campaign, to reinforce the positive messages of our community.
Mental illnesses are real, common and treatable. New treatments have revolutionized mental healthcare in communities. Even people with the most severe mental illnesses can and do recover. There is help. There is hope.
Mental Health Coalition Against Stigma In Hollywood.
- AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION.
- ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY
- ASSERTIVE COMMUNITY TREATMENT ASSOCIATION
- AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY PSYCHIATRISTS
- BAZELON CENTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH LAW
- FOUNTAIN HOUSE
- INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PSYCHOSOCIAL REHABILITATION SERVICES
- INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR CLUBHOUSE DEVELOPMENT
- NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR THE MENTALLY ILL
- NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY BEHAVIORAL HEALTH DIRECTORS
- NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR COMMUNITY BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE
- NATIONAL DEPRESSIVE AND MANIC-DEPRESSIVE ASSOCIATION
- NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION
- NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PSYCHIATRIC HEALTH SYSTEMS
- GERALD AND ELSIE WEYRAUCH, FOUNDERS, SUICIDE PREVENTION ADVOCACY NETWORK (SPANUSA)
Your comments to ABC and to the sponsors are most important at this time. A flood of mail with these messages can make a difference. If we don't do it, who will? Thanks for your support!
Stella March, Coordinator
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