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The decision to re-air the episode is truly callous,' the letter read.'The episode sends a message that ABC does not consider people living with mental illness to truly be part of its modern family or vision.
It is a profound disappointment that a show that has been applauded for inclusivity now chooses to dismiss concerns from part of the disability community.'Mental illness is not a joke. Surgeon General and three presidential administrations have identified the stigma associated with mental illness as a very real public health problem.
Re-airing an episode that uses an 'insane asylum' theme and stereotypes of people living with mental illness as a vehicle for humor is a cruel Halloween trick on the 1 in 5 Americans who experience mental health problems in any given year. Stigmatizing, stereotyped portrayals such as those in 'Awesome Land' often discourage people experiencing mental health problems from seeking help when they need it—precisely because they fear becoming subject to ridicule.
When it is internalized, stigma also damages a person's progress toward recovery.
rowing up, my sister Christy, who is eight years older than me, never left the house without her hair and makeup done flawlessly.
All of her clothes had to match perfectly with her lipstick.
Please do not undermine your own anti-bullying campaign. Children and teens who live with mental health conditions are themselves vulnerable to bullying.
That vulnerability is increased when a television network spreads stigma recklessly under the guise of Halloween fun.
In 2002, I began documenting the life of my sister, Christy, now 43, who was diagnosed with a brain disorder at age 24.
The show, which had an 'insane asylum' theme saw one of the main characters - Phil, played by Ty Burrell - turn his house into a spooky attraction, and involved many of the lead characters dressing up as nurses and 'deranged' mental patients, with some even being forcibly strapped down to gurneys.