National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI StigmaBuster Alert: January 28, 2006
For two weeks running, ABC-TV's Crumbs (Thursdays, 9:30 PM ET) has been watched by approximately 12 million people. That's relatively strong -- higher than or close to the ratings achieved by 60 Minutes, Cold Case, Law and Order, ER, and The West Wing.
Some StigmaBusters felt that the show exhibited a softer tone last week.This week, the shift was more noticeable, particularly in terms of stigmatizing language, which may have been redubbed. In fact, the January 26 episode, offered a glimpse of compassion.
Recently released from a psychiatric hospital Mrs. Crumb (Jane Curtin), bored with her divorce support group, begins to socialize with a recovery group for crystal methamphetamine addicts. This situation becomes the vehicle for some disparaging jokes, however, when one of her sons criticizes her choice in new friends, Mrs. Crumb declares: "Let me tell you something about these people. They've lost their homes, their families, their savings, and they've hit rock bottom. At least they look up to me."
The focus then turns to the stigma that Mrs. Crumb has felt since being released from the hospital -- knowing that people are talking about her, and not wanting to face old friends. Toward the end of the episode, however, she visits two old friends -- a day late for their anniversary party --who welcome and hug her. Jokes aside, it was a relatively accurate and compassionate depiction of a stage of recovery.
Sometimes, television shows evolve. Let's continue to monitor Crumbs closely. We'll wait to see how or if the show progresses. In the meantime, StigmaBusters have accomplished a lot:
By the third episode, only three companies had advertised for consecutive weeks during the show. These are our current targets, but with a slightly different message:
Citigroup (Citi Simplicity credit card)
Dr. H. Fisk Johnson (Ziploc double-zipper bag; Glade plug-ins; Oust air freshener)
Toshiaki Taguchi, President & CEO, Toyota Motor North America
Your efforts have made a difference! Thank you for your support!
Stella March, National Coordinator