Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Asda’s gaffe shows mental health is still a ‘joke’

THIS blog was going to be about football or some other mundane thought rattling in my head, but thanks to Asda, it’s an angry rant.

You may have seen that the store has apologised this evening for trying to sell a ‘Mental Patient Halloween Costume’.

Oh it gets better... it even came with the strapline ‘Everyone will be running away from you in fear in this mental patient fancy dress costume’.

Oh it gets better again....the costume is a blood soaked shirt with meat cleaver! Yes because Asda’s wonderful creative department think everyone with mental health issues has been on a rampage recently.

For crying out loud it’s 2013, we have hybrid cars, TVs the size of a small country, we manage many diseases, we deliver babies in women’s homes, we send humans into space so why the F*** is it acceptable to a) make sick jokes about mental health and b) still not have serious discussions about the subject.

Why on earth can a major supermarket sell costumes like this but people even with mildest depression are told to ‘cheer up’?

Why on earth can we make jokes and sport stars with depression are told to ‘grow up’ and why do people still back away from those with any form of mental health problem.

I haven’t shared this with many but my mum is slowly succumbing to dementia and over the last 2 years I have seen people, friends even, back away from seeing her because they don’t understand what is happening.

That is not to say they are bad people, far from it but an example of how uneducated we are about all mental illnesses; from depression, personality disorders, ADHD and bi polar to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

None of it can be cured, just managed, the sufferer doesn’t pick the illness, the illness picks them. Many have a brush with depression, I hit rock bottom one January night and all sorts of very dark thoughts came to me.

Only by speaking very quickly about how I was feeling (because I was so shocked at the thoughts) to my wife and her gentle affection and listening ear pulled me back sharply.

Some are like me, the lightest brush and a quick scare, some are not. We should not mock, we should listen, we should not joke, we must support.

If you read this and agree with me, great more power to you, if you read it and realise something is wrong then talk to someone.

Plenty of people are walking and talking today, living with an illness, but guess what they aren’t hacking people to death!

Shame on you Asda, f****** shame on you.

Visit or type mental health into a search engine.

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