What does mental illness look like? Asda and the mental patient

29 Sep

Halloween (1) SEP 2013

Have you been thinking along these lines or have things like this been said to you? Do you want to understand the other side of the argument or know how others have responded?

  • Isn’t this all a bit over the top? Don’t get so het up about it, it’s just a fancy dress costume! There are more important things to worry about. Get your priorities straight! You’re blowing this all out of proportion.
  • It’s just a bit of fun! Go on, get a sense of humour, laugh a little, don’t be such a killjoy!
  • No offence was intended – it wasn’t intentional!
  • You’re just drawing attention to all this. Ignore it and it’ll go away.
  • It’s freedom of expression1 You’re trying to censor me! It’s a dangerous slippery slope when you start trying to ban things!

If so, read on to find out what people have written on this subject, why it’s important, and what comes next.

Blog post to follow hopefully in the future, once it’s all percolating through the medication haze. In the meantime, here are my tweets from the evening of 25th. A

Please let me know of any additional links to add to the page so it’s as complete as possible.



web links 5.





My related links:


Responses from health and mental health organisations:


Other organisations:




Mainstream media coverage:


Overseas media:


Criticisms of the anti-stigma campaign:







5 Responses to “What does mental illness look like? Asda and the mental patient”

  1. Viv 30 September 2013 at 7:39 am #

    I saw too many people on social media dismiss it as being an overeaction to ignore it myself.

  2. mrsemmasheppard 30 September 2013 at 9:05 am #

    Thank you for including my blog. I too am still amazed by how many people not only felt it an overreaction, but thought they should declare out-loud that all the affronted should stop making a fuss. Do some people really have so little ability to empathise? Would they want their most painful, traumatic, and truly darkest time made into a joke for all to laugh at?


  1. Halloween: What’s wrong with evoking the “scarey mental patient” stereotype? | Sectioned - 19 October 2013

    […] It was called Asylum. Just as when, a few weeks ago, Asda, Tesco and Amazon marketed their “mental patient fancy dress costumes”, the mental health twittersphere exploded in […]

  2. Mental health myths and facts | CAN (Mental Health) Inc - 29 November 2013

    […] is love there is life. (Mahatma Gandhi)Understanding Mental Health DisordersFacts: Mental HealthWhat does mental illness look likeMore young people having mental health […]

  3. Selling stigma: Ridiculing and demonising people with mental health problems for fun and profit | Sectioned - 26 August 2014

    […] Asda (and other retailers) marketed “mental patient” fancy dress costumes. When this was challenged, Asda quickly withdrew the products from sale, apologised and donated £25,000 to mental health charities. […]

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