Tis the season for Cultural Appropriation, and offensive costumes are on the rise! This year’s big trend was dressing up in costumes that depicted long-held stereotypes of what a “Crazy” person looks like…. in costume format.
I’ve been struggling to share my mental health diagnosis for a long time now. It becomes even harder when I’m up against the stigma that is perpetuated by Hollywood, fake “Doctor” talk shows, the Media and now Halloween Costumes.
Even large retailers like George, Tesco and Asda (which is owned by retail giant Walmart) were selling “Psycho Ward” costumes by the truck load. After an abundance of criticism for selling mental patient halloween costumes, they released a PR statement calling it a “completely unacceptable error”, removing the costumes, and making a donation to “The Mind Foundation” whose tagline is Mental Health for all.
But people in general still didn’t get the memo. So, I’ve compiled an unfortunate list of the Top 10 Costumes/Culprits to Mental Health Stigma. This season included straight jackets (insinuating involuntary submissions) and blood (wtf is the blood from.. murdering?) and an intense amplification of seemingly dead features, apparently likening people with mental illness to Zombies?? And it’s a SIN to involve children in this stigmatized halloween outfit… as seen below. *Face Palm
The costume names were terrible and ranged from “Gone Mental” (kids outfit) to “Fancy Dress Costume” (psycho killer) to “Psycho Nympho” (Which exhibited no sexual addiction indicators at all). They were not only incredibly insensitive and degrading to people with mental illness but they were also very tacky.
Next year, I should go as Bipolar and I’ll dress the same as I do everyday and be undetectable as someone who has Bipolar. That could REALLY terrify people. In fact, I would resemble the other 1 in 5 adults in the US that experiences mental illness in a given year (which is 43.8 million Americans a year according to the National Institute of Mental Health research). This could help to illustrate that mental illness is not visible and it does NOT discriminate.
In fact, research conducted by Bond University‘s forensic psychologist Nathan Brooks concluded that 1 in 5 corporate CEO’s are psychopaths. An equal proportion to that among prisoners . So next time you want to dress up like a person with mental illness, you should also consider dressing like a Boss (even Steve Jobs had OCD) or even a normal person (like the 1 in 5 Americans who suffer from mental illness annually). Please remember #CrazyIsNotACostume!
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.