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NAMI Issues “Stigma Alert” Over Inaccurate and Offensive Halloween Costumes, Attractions


As Halloween approaches, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is issuing a Halloween “stigma alert” for costumes and other seasonal attractions that feature inaccurate and offensive stereotypes regarding those with mental health illnesses.

NAMI points out ghosts and goblins are one thing, but when “haunted house” attractions become “insane asylums” featuring “mental patients” as murderous ghouls, it’s time for the organization, and public, to protest. U.S. Surgeon General has determined that stigma is a major barrier to people getting help when they need it and NAMI chapters across the country are working to make sure Halloween does not turn into a chance to perpetuate these stereotypes. What to do?
• If offensive Halloween attractions or products appear in your local stores, contact sponsors, advertisers or sellers personally. Educate and ask them to remove offensive parts of any attraction, advertisements or merchandise that mock mental illness.

• Alert local NAMI chapters, family and friends to phone, send letters or e-mail the sponsors or stores.

• Contact local newspaper editors and television news directors. Educate them about stigma and your concerns.

For example, NAMI New Jersey is fighting an “Asylum of Terror” sponsored by a local museum and supported by a local Wal-Mart and Dunkin’ Donuts, to name a few. There are several ways supporters of NAMI and advocates of those with mental illnesses can also help spread the message that perpetuating stigma towards persons with a mental illness is a national — as well as local — concerns.

Visit the NAMI Halloween Stigma Alert at: for actions you can take.

About NAMI:
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a non-partisan organization with 1100 state and local affiliates, dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. Dedication, steadfast commitment and unceasing belief in NAMI’s mission by grassroots advocates have produced profound changes.

Additional Web Resources:
The National Alliance on Mental Illness:
NAMI StigmaBusters Alerts:


 mental health
 NAMI New Jersey

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