Can you imagine? Waking up one morning to find a photo of the “Dorothea Dix Psych Ward” Halloween costume, a rather controversial costume being sold in a few Halloween stores in North Carolina. After many objections from advocates for mental health, the items have since been removed. One morning Kate Kryder did.
Kate is a board member of Chapel Hill’s National Alliance for Mental Illness chapter and the Co-Curricular Leadership Program Coordinator at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kate is passionate about mental illness. She recognizes this period in her student’s lives is critical as for many students, mental illness begins by age 24.
“I wanted to give voice to the people who remain silent in fear of losing their job, for the people who are afraid to tell their family, who are timid about seeing a therapist or psychiatrist and for the people who society has alienated with the stigma and discrimination of mental illness. These people are your educators, your baristas, your friends, your bus drivers and the person you least suspect,” Kate said.
So what does she do?
She took photos of staff and students at UNC Chapel Hill who volunteered to hold up signs explaining why mental illness is not a costume to be exploited during Halloween.
We feel it’s time we created a day dedicated to say ‘thank you’ to a group of professionals who so rarely receive thanks and praise in their work. Each year, on May 20th, communities and organizations will have the opportunity to celebrate and offer ‘thanks’ to these professionals for all the amazing work they do! Employers and Supervisors will also have the opportunity to arrange events to show their appreciation of the work carried out by mental health professionals, to highlight their importance to the organization and to enhance their work-related skills. It is a small way to demonstrate the gratitude and appreciation their individual communities has for them.
It is our ultimate goal to have this day widely observed in many workplaces in the United States and other countries around the world.