National Alliance on Mental Illness
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StigmaBusting Network
and Alerts


NAMI Campaign to End Discrimination
May 6, 2002

Contact Information:

Ms. Stella March

NAMI StigmaBusters, with its dedicated advocates across the country and around the world, are successfully fighting the pervasive and hurtful stigma that exists toward persons with mental illness -and- also commending print media, TV and films that send accurate messages to the public.

NAMI StigmaBusters now number 8,600. Numbers do count, so let your voice be heard.




  1. Updated Action Information re: The New York Times

  1. Updated Action Information re: The New York Times

    We have received many responses about your email messages to the NY Times editors being returned, which may be the result of a large volume being sent or recipients "blocking" them. Let's not let them off the hook that easily.

    The following are revised e-mail addresses to re-send or send your action messages:

    Here is the original information:

    New York Times Crossword Puzzle Hypocrisy

    SITUATION: As reported in February, StigmaBusters contacted the section editors of the New York Times, about offensive words in the Times Crossword Puzzle which perpetuate prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illnesses. They thanked us for bringing it to the newspaper's attention, and said that it would be corrected internally. They agreed that the examples we provided did not meet New York Times standards, and asked us to let them know if it happened again.

    Unfortunately, it did, on April 17, 2002 with the following two items:

    • Item # 36: Clue = loony/ Answer = nuts
    • Item # 38: Clue = looniness/ Answer = mania

    And then AGAIN on May 1, 2002:
    • Item #46: Clue = cuckoo/ Answer = crazy

    We again contacted the editors. The response was the same as before, but this time, it's not good enough--especially when the New York Times this past week has been running a three-part, front-page series about the abuse of people with mental illness in adult homes. We commend the newspaper's investigative reporting, but must point out the offensive hypocrisy that exists between the newspaper's front- page and the recurring prejudice of the Crossword Puzzle.

    Action Requested:

    All StigmaBusters nationally are needed to get the New York Times to take notice! Please send complaints about the crossword puzzles not just to the puzzle editor, but also his supervisors. Also send a separate Letter to the Editor (same address) pointing out the hypocrisy.

    The following contact information is no longer valid:
    Joseph Lolyveld, Executive Editor
    New York Times
    229 W. 43rd Street
    New York, NY 10036-3959

    John Rockwell, Arts and Leisure Editor e-mail:

    Will Shortz, Crossword Puzzle Editor e-mail:

    Message Points:

    • Since we received the first complaint, NAMI has followed the puzzles and found a clear a pattern of prejudice and insensitivity. They are contributing to the same cultural attitudes that result in group home abuses. Would the New York Times allow slurs toward any racial or ethnic minority in the Crossword Puzzle?
    • People with a mental illness are not "fruitcakes, psychos, sickos, or crazy-as-a-loon." They are human beings struggling with a brain disorder that is as devastating as all other physical illnesses like cancer, diabetes, HIV, stroke, Parkinson's, or Alzheimer's. They deserve respect and dignity, not language that demeans, humiliates and reinforces pervasive public stigma.
    • Thousands of words exist in the English language that can be used without cruelly offending anyone.
    • The U.S. Surgeon General asked the news and entertainment media, specifically, to help eliminate the stigma of mental illness.

    Previous incidents included:

    02/02/02: Item # 22: Clue = Fruitcake/ Answer = Loon
    10/18/01: Item #37: Clue = Zoo so to speak / Answer = Loony-bin
    08/12/99: Item #08: Clue = Candidate for a psych ward / Answer = Sicko

    Stella March, Coordinator
    NAMI StigmaBusters Email Alert

    New! Receive stigma alerts via e-mail! Click here to learn how you can join NAMI's stigma alert list to receive regular stigma alerts.

    We look forward to hearing from you!