National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI StigmaBuster Alert: October 12, 2006
It’s the season for ghosts and goblins, but also stigma.
Companies or groups that operate stigmatizing Halloween attractions often don’t realize they are contributing to a public health crisis -- and that the federal and state governments spend taxpayer dollars on anti-stigma campaigns to offset the damage.
Protest & Praise: A Tactical Guide
The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsored a teleconference on stigma-busting last month, which included discussion of “Halloween Horrors.” NAMI was one of the presenters. Copies of the presentations can be viewed and printed from SAMHSA’s ADS Center Website.
Presenters emphasized the need to be polite while making contacts in order to start a dialogue. Keep in mind that individuals or companies often do not know what stigma means. Goals are incremental in nature. Small victories still count:
In all cases, mention the U.S. Surgeon General’s condemnation of stigma and the fact that the federal and state governments are launching a National Anti-Stigma Campaign with the U.S. Ad Council on November 29. Stigma ultimately costs taxpayers money. Will those who generate it help pay for ads?
Halloween Protests: Four Examples
Cedar Fair: Lorrie Paul Crum
2. The Society of Paranormal Investigation and Research in Tennessee (SPIRIT), a ghost hunters club is staging The Old Salem Insane Asylum, a haunted house in which “mental patientsare trying to get out” and will use any means possible, “including people coming in.” The president of SPIRIT is Terry Mayo. NAMI Tennessee has protested the attraction through a radio interview educating people about stigma, and NAMI members handing out informational material about mental illnesses to people visiting the site.
Contact through Web site
The newspaper has condemned NAMI for “political correctness.” We call it social responsibility -- particularly in light of the public costs of stigma, including public education financed by taxpayers.
The paper has asked; “Was closing the
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Stella March, National Coordinator