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NAMI StigmaBuster Alert: August 4, 2006


TV News: See You in September

Good news, bad news?

One September 26, ABC-TV will premiere Help Me Help You starring Ted Danson (formerly of Cheers), who is described as a doctor leading “a gaggle of eccentric folk in group therapy,” except that he might be    “the craziest and most self-obsessed of all.” Creators of the show claim it will not make fun of mental illness. You think? Stay tuned.

On September 28, Sally Field will return to ER on NBC-TV in her role as Maggie Wycenski, the mother of one of the nurses, who also struggles with bipolar disorder. In 2001, NAMI honored ER and Field with an Outstanding Media Award for six-episodes that introduced the character and provided an accurate, balanced and intimate look at the illness.

Funny or Not?

The current issue of The Advocate, NAMI’s quarterly magazine, includes an article on “TV Humor and Mental Illness,” and asks readers: “Is mental illness ever funny? Where does humor stop and stigma begin?”

“I should have been an elevator operator,” because of the extreme ups and downs, says comedian Drew Horn of New Jersey, who lives with bipolar disorder. He says he is building a playground for bipolar children -- complete with mood swings. His act is intended both to entertain and educate people about a deadly serious illness. He himself has been homeless four times, had three marriages fail, and attempted suicide twice.

Can mental illness be funny? Where does humor stop and stigma begin? Please send your thoughts to

National Anti-Stigma Campaign: Regional Meetings

In the war against stigma, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is launching the National Anti-Stigma Campaign (NASC), which will include public service announcements (PSAs).

SAMHSA is holding one-day regional meetings to provide sneak previews, as well as presentations and training. Success of the campaign depends on grassroots support. Consumer and family advocates and representatives of mental health agencies and organizations are invited.

Anyone interested in attending should contact SAMHSA’s organizers (Vanguard Communications) for more information. Meeting locations, dates, the states in each region, and email addresses are listed below:

August 25—Los Angeles, CA
Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington

September 11 - Denver, CO
Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming

September 18—Washington, D.C.
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia

September 26—Chicago, IL
Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin.

Stella March, National Coordinator
NAMI StigmaBusters

To receive StigmaBuster Alerts directly in your inbox, visit, sign in, and check the box next to StigmaBusters.


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