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New Awareness Advert Heavily Criticised

A new advert designed to change the way the public view mental health problems has been heavily criticised by a person with first-hand experience of a mental illness.

The advert sees the term ‘Schizo’ appear onscreen in clear white letters. It has been created for the ‘Time to Change’ programme, which was set up in January with the aim of ending discrimination against people with mental health problems.

Marian Moore, 67, was diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and bi-polar in 1989 and spent the following twelve years in a mental hospital. She said “I was appalled by the advert, because it puts words like ‘schizo’ in the public domain, which I would never use.”

Mrs Moore refers to mental health problems as “the last taboo of society” and has done a lot of work in trying to change the way they are viewed by the public, “We’ve got to bring it out in the open haven’t we?”

‘Literacy around mental health’

According to SHiFT, an organisation set up to reduce discrimination against the mentally ill, only 10% of homicides are carried out by people with a mental illness compared to 60% which are related to drink and drugs.

Laura Deeley, a health writer for ‘The Times’ said “the general public’s literacy around mental illness is incredibly low.”

Mrs Moore, was quick to point out the improvements which have been made in caring for the mentally ill since she was diagnosed. She applauds the increased use of psychological therapy, stating that “the medical model of treatment is only good for bones and legs, but not for the head”.

By Nick Higgins

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