Trick or treat. It’s that season again. We don’t mind ghosts and goblins, but in some communities "haunted house" attractions take the form of "insane asylums," featuring "mental patients" as murderous ghouls.
Violent stereotypes are inaccurate and offensive. The U.S. Surgeon General has warned that they perpetuate stigma, resulting in discrimination and abuse, even though "the contribution of mental disorders to the total level of violence in society is exceptionally small."
Here’s one outrageous offender: the "Fright Night Scream Park," a commercial attraction in Clovis, California (near Fresno). Check it out. If you want, you can give the proprietors a piece of your mind at:
email@example.com or (559) 288-DARK
Local service clubs or high schools may also be the sponsors of Halloween attractions, but don’t intend to offend. Other times it’s local advertising or retail costumes sold in stores (Unfortunately, straitjackets are popular). In speaking out for change, here are tactics to consider:
Deadlines for voter registration are fast approaching for the November elections. If you are not already, you can register to vote on-line today. Find out also about absentee ballots and other information.
Some states restrict the right to vote for individuals with psychiatric disabilities based on competence standards. Other times, misinformed election officials, poll workers or mental health service providers improperly impose their own notions of voter competence. It is important to know your rights. The NAMI voter registration page includes a discussion of them.
Because of the large number of StigmaBuster emails received each month, not every one can be answered individually, however, we appreciate every message and do evaluate every stigma report, prioritizing 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! Send reports of stigma to Stella March via email.