Ms. Stella March
NAMI StigmaBusters, with its dedicated advocates across the country and around the world, are successfully fighting the pervasive and hurtful stigma that exists toward persons with mental illness -and- also commending print media, TV and films that send accurate messages to the public.
NAMI StigmaBusters now number 8,600. Numbers do count, so let your voice be heard.
On June 6, 2002 more than 2,000 NAMI members and friends rallied at the U.S. Capitol, calling on Congress to pass legislation for Mental Health Parity. We are grateful for the leadership of Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Paul Wellstone (D-MN) and U.S. Representatives Marge Roukema (R-NJ) and Patrick Kennedy (D-RI).
On June 26-30, NAMI holds its 23rd annual convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. I hope to see you there! Please visit the Communications and StigmaBusters kiosk in "NAMI Land" and/or attend the screening of the new documentary, "Imagining Robert: My Brother, Madness and Survival" on Thursday, June 27 at 12:45 in Room 203 of the Convention Center, where I will participate in the panel discussion that follows. On Friday, June 28, I also will moderate a convention workshop in Ballroom A (3rd floor) on "Overcoming Stigma in the Workplace."CONTENTS
For the convention, NAMI has announced its annual outstanding media awards for fair, accurate, sensitive reporting or dramatic presentations involving mental illness. StigmaBusters are encouraged to praise recipients in personal notes, letters to editors of the newspapers indicated, or other public statements.
A special award to the movie "A Beautiful Mind" for the Year's Greatest Contribution to Public Understanding of Mental Illness (Universal Pictures, Dreamworks Pictures, and Imagine Entertainment) will honor John and Alicia Nash, author Sylvia Nasar, screen writer Akiva Goldsman, producer Brian Grazer, director Ron Howard, actor Russell Crowe and actress Jennifer Connelly.
Meanwhile, sales and rentals of "A Beautiful Mind" on video and DVD begin on June 25th, providing new opportunities for group discussion of schizophrenia and related issues.
Other awards include:
SITUATION: Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in a commencement speech at Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy on May 20th, 2002 first referred to inconsistent Bush Administration foreign policy statements as "untreated bipolar disorder," which perhaps might have been considered an acceptable, even accurate metaphor--especially because she at least evidenced awareness that bipolar disorder is treatable. Unfortunately, Albright then stepped over the line by accusing the Administration in the next breath of having "a split personality."
ACTION: We have written Ms. Albright sharing StigmaBuster concerns over her rather unusual confusion. Neither bipolar disorder nor schizophrenia is the same as a "split" personality, which in fact, should be referred to as a multiple personality disorder.
SITUATION: A Wendy's TV commercial portrays a small support group therapy session with the leader calling on members to report. The last person confesses he had bought a Wendy's Classic Double with Cheese. "You might call me crazy, but it felt great!" he exclaims. The leader then claps and says "Bravo! Bravo!"
ACTION: We have advised Wendy's CEO that the commercial is offensive because it trivializes mental illness and therapeutic practice.
SITUATION: MTV has been running a video from Mystikal's "Tarantual" album, featuring a soloist in a straitjacket singing "Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against the Wall)," as he bounces his head against the padded wall of a psychiatric unit.
ACTION: NAMI has raised concern over MTV's promotion of the video with the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign (www.nostigma.org) which has worked closely in the past with MTV in producing anti-stigma public service announcements targeted to youth. They have raised the issued with MTV, but to date there has been no response.
Stella March, Coordinator
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We look forward to hearing from you!