What To Do If Corporations Promote Mental Health Stigma

January 7, 2016 Laura A. Barton

Sometimes corporations promote mental health stigma. I saw an example of this recently and knew I had to write about it. Corporations may not know they promote mental health stigma but sometimes they do it anyway.

T Shirt Village Promotes Mental Health Stigma on Amazon

Mental health stigma could be reduced if corporations, such as t-shirt companies, stopped depicting mental illness as funny. This is what you can do about it.I learned today that Amazon is allowing the sale of shirts that poke fun at and perpetuate the stigma of mental illnesses, in particular, suicide. A third party seller called T-Shirt Village has posted and is selling t-shirts which read “Suicide Watch” while depicting a figure on a chair about to hang himself while another figure sits watching with popcorn.

While I’d like to think it’s a political commentary on the fact the mental illnesses and suicide are not taken seriously, I have a feeling it isn’t and that the vast majority of people won’t see it that way.

So what do we do in the wake of this kind of mental health stigma from a big corporate entity? (Yes, Amazon is a third party seller, but by allowing the posting and sales of these shirts, Amazon seems to be condoning, or at least excusing or ignoring, the hurtful message.) What can we do when corporations promote mental health stigma?

How to Combat Corporations Promoting Mental Health Stigma

  1. Leave a comment on the product or send an email to the seller/creator. In this case, it’d be double duty of both getting in touch with Amazon for hosting the product and also T-Shirt Village for creating it, but reaching out and letting these companies know something like this is unacceptable is key. Give them the reasons why mental health stigma must end and make clear that you are both upset by the product and that you would like it removed. Even leave some information to educate about the seriousness of mental illnesses and how products like this only promote more stigma.
  2. Bring in the human element. Mental health stigma often happens because people don’t see how real people are affected by it. By humanizing the issue, the idea and problem goes from abstract to concrete. If you’re comfortable, share how it affects you personally (The Stigma Of Admitting I Am Affected By Mental Illness).
  3. Share about the stigma you have discovered. Let the people in your social circles know about what you’ve found and hopefully they will speak out against it, too (Images For The Stand Up For Mental Health Campaign). Share how products that disregard the sensitivity of mental illness are unacceptable and how they need to be taken down before too much damage can be done.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness or thoughts of suicide, please read these valuable resources and reach out (Reasons People Call a Suicide Crisis Hotline).

You can find Laura on Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Facebook and her blog; also see her book, Project Dermatillomania: The Stories Behind Our Scars.

APA Reference
Barton, L. (2016, January 7). What To Do If Corporations Promote Mental Health Stigma, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Laura A. Barton

Laura A. Barton is a fiction and non-fiction writer from Ontario, Canada. Follow her writing journey and book love on Instagram, and Goodreads.

Dr Musli Ferati
January, 9 2016 at 8:20 pm

Modern life against positive things is overloaded with many negative and anti-humane activities, which ones are reflected on ruinous way to mental welfare particularly, and in destructive effect on global welbeing, as well. Your observation is conform with above mention statement, because trade corporation didn't choose manners to selling their products, as much as possible. It is the time of marketing and any undertaking is fit for use to achieve manifold profit. Amid them a lot of anti-psychiatric and scornful propaganda are exploited. The capital is going to become very dangerous. These phenomena in daily marketing industry have got damaging impact on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of psychiatric patient, even comprehensive mental health care system, around all the world. Anti-stigma campaign should be more efficient and it ought to combat any marketing activities with stigma connotation. Otherwise, we shall make hard psychiatric treatment of people with mental disorders with many bad repercussions on social welfare.

January, 9 2016 at 5:46 pm

Some people have a sickness about what they think is funny. Best thing I think is to ignore it and carry on.

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