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NAMI StigmaBuster Alert: November 23, 2009


Voices for Change

Bring Change 2 Mind

Make sure to read the latest edition of NAMI's Advocate e-newsletter, which has two major stories on the fight against stigma.

The annual "Voice Awards" honor both Hollywood heroes and individuals living with mental illness who are speaking out for change. One of this year's honorees is Emmy award-winning actress Glenn Close who last month launched the BringChange2Mind campaign to fight stigma-through public service announcements (PSAs) that are now being shown to millions on television networks.

Find out also about what Close really thinks about the role she played in the movie Fatal Attraction 20 years ago, which continues to be controversial.

Shuddering About Shutter Island?

Stigmabusters are on alert over two movies being released in February 2010, which are already being previewed in theaters and on the Internet.

Shutter IslandOne is a horror flick, The Crazies, a remake of a failed cult classic from the 1960s about people in a town going violently "insane" because of U.S. Army biological weapon experiments. It's the type of film that is best ignored, rather than protested, so as not to help it sell tickets. Let's hope it flops again and sinks out of sight after a couple weeks. Do you agree?

The other movie, Shutter Island, is a serious one with an all-star cast that includes Leonardo DeCaprio and Ben Kingsley. It is based on the mystery novel by Dennis Lehane, whose previous novels, Mystic River and Gone, Baby, Gone became hit movies.

Lehane's novels and the subsequent films are noted for surprise, twist endings. Things are not always as they seem-which may be the case relative to the movie previews. The story is set in the 1950s in a "mental hospital for the criminally insane." To some degree, the institution may be accurate for the era. If the movie stays close to the book, some patients are portrayed sympathetically (Think Andrea Yates). One of the book's themes involves the "crossroads" and conflicts of the period between surgical psychiatry, like lobotomies, the emergence of psychotropic medications and psychotherapy, to unravel delusions and resolve "internal emotional conflicts."

Even with serious themes, the film's popular impact may only reinforce violent stereotypes. On the other hand, it might turn out to be a provocative, but overall positive vehicle for public education.

What do you think? Send us some ideas about actions StigmaBusters might take around the movie.

Keep in mind that the film will be released around the same time state legislatures are expected to be slashing mental health services because of budget crises, taking us backwards, rather than forward. From 2010 to 1950?

Free Teleconference: December 17

SAMHSA's ADS Center is offering a free teleconference, "The History of the Mental Health Consumer Movement" on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Sit-inClick here to register. Registration will close a week beforehand on Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. (Eastern Time).

What is the mental health consumer movement? Coinciding with the emergence of other civil rights movements, it arose from the need to advocate for changes in the way society viewed and treated people with mental illness. The teleconference will help consumers and others understand the origins of the movement challenges consumers have encountered and overcome, and the societal advances gained through effective advocacy. Looking toward 2010, it is need urgently needed now as much as before.

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.

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