National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI StigmaBuster Alert: June 11, 2009

Pittsburgh Pirates logoPeople All-stars: Vote for Matt

Help fight stigma and raise public awareness of the mental health needs of veterans-- in People magazine! NAMI leader Matt Kuntz, who is featured in the latest NAMI Advocate cover story, has been nominated to be one of People magazine's "All-stars Among Us." Earlier this year, he was selected to ride President Obama's inaugural train as an "ordinary American" who has done "extraordinary things."

Please visit the People All-star Web site. Nominees are grouped under the names of major league baseball teams. The top vote-getter for each team will be honored at the MLB All-star Game in July. The person with the most votes overall will be featured in People magazine.

To cast your ballot: 1) select the Pittsburgh Pirates emblem and 2) vote for Matt. It's that easy.

Help spread the word! Balloting ends June 24. Each person can vote up to 25 times. Why Pittsburgh? Because a NAMI SW Pennsylvania member made the nomination!

Mental TV showMental: Tell Us More; June 16

On the upcoming episode of Mental on Tuesday, June 16, an eight-year-old boy is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and stigma hides a family secret. NAMI is continuing to monitor the show and would especially like comments on this episode.

Thus far, StigmaBusters are giving the show both thumbs up and thumbs down. (See below) Past episodes can be seen on the show's Web site.

SAMHSA logoFree Teleconference: Registration Deadline

The SAMHSA ADS Center is offering a free teleconference on "Suicide Prevention and the Role of the Social Determinants of Health" on June 25 at 2:00 p.m. (ET).

Please register by Friday June 19. Social determinants include poverty and substandard housing. Economic turmoil like increased unemployment, foreclosures and loss of investments also are major stress factors can that affect suicide risks.

Boston University logoMental Notes

Below are excerpts of some comments received to date about the show. NAMI is interested in receiving more comments after the June 16 episode. Comments can also be sent to Ask FOX (include city and zip code).


  • I really liked the [show]. It felt like the writers understand that someone with a mental illness is a person first and a "case" secondarily. The lead actor portrayed a fun irreverence for the system and a deep appreciation for the patient as a person with a life and a personality beyond the illness. I feel like my loved one is honored by this TV show.
  • I am absolutely thrilled…I have said, more than once while I am watching, that I wish I had a doctor like him. The main idea is that the patients deserve to be treated like a human being …In no way do I feel that mental illness is being shown with a negative stigma. If anything, the show educates those watching that with proper treatment (traditional or unorthodox) all individuals with a mental illness have a chance to achieve recovery.
  • The show was a little boring and unrealistic but I liked the overall message that people can get better.
  • I was ready to fight if there was any major demeaning remarks or disrespect for mental illness. I came away pleasantly surprised and thrilled…I cried during quite a bit of it as it brought back very vivid memories of the hospitalizations of my brother…[I hope] the series will continue to portray the real life story that our families deal with everyday.
  • My husband and I have been enjoying it thoroughly and my son and his wife, one with schizoaffective disorder, and one with bipolar also like it. So far, only good comments. We must wait and see if it gets destructive.


  • Due to the upsetting content, I was only able to watch about 5 minutes…I don't believe this portrayal of mental illness is the type of message we want to send. It could not compare with the film "A Beautiful Mind."
  • I feel that the series premiere of Mental was inappropriate and trivialized mental illness. I think it is important not to portray serious mental illness, which requires extensive therapy and medication, as just some mystery that can be "solved" if one digs deep enough and does the right detective work….I believe this show paints a distorted picture of mental illness.
  • I was disappointed.. It appeared to me that the patient's medications were stopped and he returned home to live with his sister and her family, productively producing his art and living happily ever after. This morning after viewing the show, my 38 year old son didn't take his psych meds as he wanted to be "free" just like the man in the show.

Out of the Inbox

Because of the large number of StigmaBuster messages received, they cannot all be answered individually; however, we appreciate every e-mail and do review every stigma report and prioritize them for action.

We also appreciate receiving copies of responses. They are important in helping to coordinate strategy and pursue genuine dialogue. You are our eyes and ears! Your help makes a difference!

Please send reports of stigma to Stella March.