Wednesday, October 12, 2005

NAMI vs. "Bridezilla"

Where does humor end and stigma begin? Consider this ad for a show about overwhelmed brides. Does it cross the line?

Yes, says NAMI:
Unfortunately, the Web site shows a progression of three pictures of a bride in a wedding dress: from "Engaged," to "Enraged," to "About to Be Committed." The final picture shows her wrapped in a straitjacket. Brides on the show, the site declares, go from sweet to certifiable.

Please contact the show and the president of WE's parent company, Rainbow Media, Inc. Send them these messages:

* Change the Web site. Remove the straitjacket and any suggestion of mental illness.
* Straitjackets are extremely offensive symbols, representing the pain and deaths of people with severe brain disorders.
* Straitjackets also are unfair symbols of violence that perpetuate stigma condemned by the U.S. Surgeon General.
We've had this debate before (here, here, and here). Recall the baffled responses to the outcry against "Crazy for You Bear." Will this campaign be similar?

NAMI speaks for patients who know far more about restraints than the rest of us. For them, it's no laughing matter. I hope that Bridezilla listens to NAMI.


Blogger Caltechgirl said...

oh for goodness sake. NAMI is far better off spending their time and money trying to get mental health parity. Yes the ad is stupid, but this is verging on the level of banning Piglet in Britain because a couple of Muslims are offended that pigs exist.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't think it belittles mental health, but for someone who's been in a straightjacket I guess it would be offensive. debatable for sure.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

I sent a letter. Not a raging letter, just one suggesting there might be a better way marketing the program.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

And, sometimes it's the little things that all add up in the image here, a comment there.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Greg P said...

I guess straitjackets are a hotbutton issue for some people.

I'm more concerned about the content of the show -- exploiting people to "entertain" and in the end make the producers rich.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous psychmajor UCD said...

Unfortunately the site is down for a few days, but was created by an autistic woman who has been restrained with wrist restraints... I don't know if they have another name, but it's a heavy leather belt with buckle the size of a wrist with a heavy metal piece attached to it (presumably it slips into something on a chair or bed). I've never been restrained, but just looking at that thing gives me the creeps.

The young woman who wrote the text for the blog either is the one or knows someone who stole the restraint - from an institution that was actively using them - and smuggled it out. Autistics are frequently misdiagnosed as psychotic, by the way, even though they are ver, rarely truly psychotic, it's just that it's easy for the unitiated to mistake autism for psyhosis. Autism used to be called "childhood schizophrenia", too.

If you can remember to check back in a few days the site should be back up by then.

Anyway, my point is, for people who understand the feeling of being straightjacketed, I'm sure the straightjacket is far from funny.

How about some ECT jokes? Not funny either if you know how bad they CAN be. How about some lobotomy jokes, those are pretty common, but not funny either to people who know alot about how they were abused...

10:22 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Leather restraints are used in the emergency department to keep violent patients from hurting themselves or one of us. When I worked in a psych department they were used as a last resort to keep violent patients from harming the other patients or staff. In this state (CA), they are made a 1:1 with constant assessment, with offers of water or elimination at set intervals and circulatory checks to make sure they are okay physically. I personally have never seen them used without absolute necessity. If some is autistic, not autistic, on PCP or just plain psychotic and unable to control their violent behavior, they get the four point leather restraints. I would hardly call them torture, they are a safety, not a punative measure. They are released as soon as the patient is assessed as non-violent and contracts to not strike out.

And by the way, they are not a big secret so that they have to be "smuggled" out....

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people who may end up in one of those jackets and their service providers need to get a sense of humour.

12:07 PM  

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