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StigmaBusting Network and Alerts


NAMI Campaign to End Discrimination
December 21, 1999.

Contact Information:

Ms. Stella March

Effective immediately, NAMI is initiating a new StigmaBusters process that we hope will make our collective response even more timely and powerful. We will regularly email StigmaBuster Alerts to notify you about confirmed reports of situations that have national significance. We will include the essential facts that you may use for your own messages, including names and addresses for our letter-writing campaign.

We expect to have at least one StigmaBuster Alert each month and, at times, will have two or three alerts, depending on the reported, confirmed situations. As always, our objective is to discourage and, ultimately, eliminate egregious, negative depictions of mental illness in entertainment, advertising, and the media. We want to generate as much reaction as possible from our NAMI grassroots "stigmabusters."

Let's continue to educate and inform the stigma perpetrators. Every message counts! Together, we are truly "The Nation's Voice on Mental Illness."

Thanks for everything you do.
Stella March,
StigmaBusters Coordinator,


GOOD NEWS! The landmark Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, released on December 13, 1999, underscores the importance of our vitally important StigmaBusters campaign: Stigma surrounding mental illness continues to be a significant barrier to receiving the treatments and services that are so critical to recovery. If you missed the news reports in your local press, check the story on NAMI's web site at

StigmaBuster Alert #1.

Company: Adams & Brooks, Inc.

Product: Adams & Brooks has a promotional flyer that introduces "Psycho Pops", a lolly-pop "insane sweet/sour flavors split by a hot psycho streak". Flavors are called "strait jacket strawberry", "rabid raspberry", "loco lemon". Each flavor is featured with ugly cartoon images. This product is targeted to "kids 7 - 15 years old".

Possible Stigma-Busting message points:

  • The flyer, the language, the cartoon images are outrageous and offensive to NAMI's 210,000 members who are personally affected by severe mental illnesses.
  • Targeting kids with such product promotion perpetuates the stigma that keeps those who may show symptoms of a mental illness from seeking treatment.
  • Lack of treatment has led to an alarming escalation of adolescent suicides (suicide is the third leading cause of death among our nation's youth).

Contact: Mr. John Brooks, Sr.,
CEO, Adams & Brooks, Inc.,
1915 South Hoover Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007,

StigmaBuster Alert #2:

Company: Urban Decay

Product: An Urban Decay lipstick line is branded "Skitz-O-Styx" with offensive color names, including "Manic Depressive". Marketed on the Internet, the brand name is an obvious take-off on the word "schizophrenia". Advertising language includes: "For every one who relishes the multiple personalities that live inside our bodies. . . each Skitz-o-Styx has all you need to change moods in an instant.

Possible Stigma-Busting Message Points:

  • Using the term "Manic Depressive" to label a lipstick is offensive to anyone who has ever struggled with bipolar disorder.
  • As we know, these disorders do not involve either a "split" or "multiple" personalities.


Sandy Lerner, CEO, Urban Decay, 2060 Placentia Ave #A4, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-3498 or

StigmaBuster Alert #3:

Company: WCW (WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING), broadcast on the Turner Broadcasting System (TBS)

Product: A "Monday Nitro Warning Shirt" with the messages: "Nitro Warning" on front, and, on the back: "Excessive viewing may cause psychotic outbursts, extreme paranoia, deranged behavior, severe schizophrenia, incoherent mumbling, and sudden fits of rage." This products is sold through WCW's web site and through other outlets.

Possible Stigma-Busting Message Points:

  • WCW's promotional shirt features offensive, confusing and stigmatizing description of devastating mental illnesses, which will affect one in five Americans during their lifetime.
  • Would they feature other physical disorders in this manner, i.e. Alzheimer's Parkinson's, HIV, cancer, diabetes, etc?
  • All human disorders deserve the same respect and sensitivity.

Contact: Cindy Johns, World Championship Wrestling, 2865 Log Cabin Drive, Smyrna, Georgia 30080; or

New! Receive stigma alerts via e-mail! Click here to learn how you can join NAMI's stigma alert list to receive regular stigma alerts.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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