Mental Illness Is A Health Condition, Not Halloween Entertainment

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Why do we have to talk about this every year?

Lindsay HolmesDeputy Healthy Living Editor, The Huffington Post

10/4/2016

This article has been re-shared from it’s original source, HuffingtonPost.com

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In 2016 this still needs to be said: A mental health disorder is not Halloween inspiration.

The Knott’s Berry Farm theme park in Buena Park, Calif. recently pulled their insensitive new fall attraction, Fear VR, after criticism from mental health advocates. The virtual reality horror show featured a young psychiatric patient with “demonic powers,” according to the LA Times, and had originally been called FearVR: 5150 ― the California code for an involuntary psychiatric hold.

The attraction was closed last week and the park, which is owned by parent company Cedar Fair, released a statement following the shutdown.

“Over the past week, we have heard from a number of people expressing concern that one of our temporary Halloween attractions ― Fear VR ― is hurtful to those who suffer from mental illnesses,” the statement read. “Contrary to some traditional and social media accounts, the attraction’s story and presentation were never intended to portray mental illness.”

The cultural viewpoint that mental illness can be synonymous with scary entertainment comes up every Halloween. Beyond theme parks, other avenues of entertainment like films and outfits also perpetuate the myth that people with mental illness are worthy of fear and disgust. Take these insensitive “asylum patient” costumes, for example…

 

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