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Myths Halloween Spreads About Mental Illness

Myths Halloween Spreads About Mental Illness

Halloween can be a fun holiday, but Halloween can also spread myths about mental illness. The main ones all have to do with stigma–that we are violent and unpredictable, that hospitalization is traumatic and abusive, and that there is no such thing as recovery. Mental illness is the only medical condition shown for shock value on Halloween–you never see haunted cancer wards, for example. Here are some myths Halloween spreads about mental illness and how to combat them.

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Mental Illness Stigma And Halloween: A Teachable Moment

Mental Illness Stigma And Halloween: A Teachable Moment

Mental illness stigma and Halloween go together like hand and glove–we’ve all seen the “haunted asylums” and the “mental patient” costumes. Rather than trying to censor this mental illness stigmatization at Halloween, we should use it as a teachable moment. We should educate people that psychiatric patients are no more violent than the general population and that we’re more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. While there is mental illness stigma around Halloween, we can use it to educate others.

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Halloween: More Trick Than Treat for Those With Mental Illness?

Halloween: More Trick Than Treat for Those With Mental Illness?

Halloween and Dia De Muertos (The Day of the Dead) can be child’s play. Ghosts, goblins, superheroes, Disney princesses and more bring both smiles and horror. For those with a mental illness, PTSD or panic, Halloween can conjure up very intense negative responses.

Sometimes horror flickers on the TV screen or in the movie theater, sometimes horror is found behind a mask, sometimes it comes to visit wrapped in “Trick or Treat!” Potential triggers lurk everywhere: black cats, oversized spiders, masks, horror movies and even costumes that perpetuate mental health stigma, domestic violence and much more. Ahhh, the midnight hour.

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