(Mental) health: stigmatising and misleading

I think it’s perfectly reasonable that people were upset by news that Asda and Tesco were marketing a ‘mental patient fancy dress costume’ given the lack of understanding and stigmatisation of mental health issues. The outfit has now been withdrawn, following many complaints:

The £20 item included clothing, fake blood, a mask and a fake meat cleaver.

Following criticism, including from one “stunned” mental health charity, the store offered “sincere apologies for the offence it has caused”.

It would be making a “very sizeable donation” to mental health charity Mind, Asda added.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, Asda, which is owned by US retail giant Walmart, said the sale had been a “completely unacceptable error”.

But I thought Andy Lewis also made a reasonable point when he asked:

So, stigmatising mental health issues is wrong as it harms, but misleading on mental health treatments is OK. @Tesco #wddty

That wddty hashtag  stands for ‘What Doctors Don’t Tell You’, a magazine which can be bought at Tesco.  Andy Lewis explains here why he has concerns about this publication:

The magazine undermines public health advice about many things including vaccines, and promotes nonsensical, useless homeopathic alternatives in their place. It promotes the idea that vitamin C might be a ‘wonder cure’ for HIV and measles. If people were to follow any of the advice in here, they could be seriously harmed or even killed.

Here is a post from another blogger who has been pursuing this issue with Tesco.