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Fighting stigma - ASDA's mental patient costume

Thursday, 26 September 2013 Lindy

Lindy shares her views on ASDA's mental patient costume

Like many others, I tweeted about it and within a few hours, Asda had removed the product from its website. This is a good step.

But I'm concerned that the product made it to the website in the first place and have emailed the Asda CEO to express my concerns.

"Dear Mr Clarke,

Like many others, I have been astonished, appalled and offended by the "Mental Patient" Halloween costume on sale via your website. I have attached a screenshot and am relieved to see that the link to the costume no longer functions I tweeted about it and despite having relatively few followers, my tweet was retweeted 32 times within an hour. 

I feel that the culture within your business that allowed this costume to be planned, photographed and passed for publication on your website needs to be examined. I'd suggest that you implement some training to ensure that your company no longer perpetuates such damaging and offensive stigma. 

Personally, I have been very upset by this tonight and I've heard of other individuals with mental health conditions who have been pushed into a vulnerable state after seeing photographs of, and links to, this product.

I look forward to hearing from you, hopefully tomorrow, to explain what Asda will be doing to address the failings within its institutional culture and to protect and respect its consumers, colleagues and employees who live with these misunderstood conditions. 
Yours sincerely,"

If I get a response, I'll be sure to update....And the tweet that I linked for him

"Dear , this is what a  looks like. End the . It's 2013 not 1813"

with this photo

I don't normally post photos of myself on Twitter but it felt like the best way to challenge a damaging image was to share a normalising image.

This is me, with one of my beautiful dogs, on a (rare) holiday. My life might often be a struggle (and seeing that there are people who find mental illness funny or frightening hardly helps with that struggle) but really I'm just someone who is as human as you or your neighbour or the checkout assistant at Asda or even Mr Clarke himself.

B, @lapsangsusie

This was originally posted on Lindy's blog last night. Read our statement on the costumes.

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