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​10 Offensively Merchandised Mental Illnesses

We need to stop glamorizing mental illness.

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Mental illness is one of those awkward, deep topics that no one wants to bring into the conversation. However, we need to start talking about it because you might be surprised how common mental illness is in our society.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in the United States, 1 in 5 adults suffer from some form of mental illness, which is approximately 18.5 million Americans. However, adults aren’t the only ones affected. Approximately 1 in 5 youth between the ages of 13 and 18 experience some form of mental illness in their lives.

When discussing mental illness, it’s important to remember that mental illness takes many forms. Some of the more common forms include anxiety disorder, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Every form of mental illness should be taken seriously.

Unfortunately, there are some clothing companies who don’t want to take mental illness seriously. They want to exploit it, glamorize it, and use it to make a fashion statement. Here are 10 examples of clothing companies selling insulting merchandise that make light of mental illness:

#1: “I Hate Being Bi-Polar, It’s Awesome!”

First of all, mental illness of any kind isn’t “awesome.” It can cause people to physically or mentally harm themselves. The second problem with this shirt is that it makes light of bipolar disorder, which isn’t something to make light about. Remember: Mental illness isn’t a joke.

#2: “I Used To Be Schizophrenic But We Are OK Now”

This shirt makes fun of schizophrenia, which is incredibly rude. Schizophrenia isn’t a joke, and it shouldn’t be the design of a t-shirt.

#3: “OCD: Obsessive Christmas Disorder”

I understand why someone might want to buy this shirt, like if they really like Christmas, for example. However, it’s insulting to glamorize OCD because it is a serious mental illness. There are other ways to show that you love Christmas without making light of mental illness.

#4: “I Thought I Was Bipolar, Turns Out I’m An A**hole”

This is one of the rudest shirts on this list. Not only does this shirt make light bipolar disorder, which is a serious mental illness, but it implies that people who have bipolar disorder are “assholes,” which is incredibly rude to those who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

#5: “Social Anxiety Intensifies”

This necklace glamorizes social anxiety, which isn’t something to make light of or glamorize. Social anxiety affects many people, and it’s not considerate to those who have social anxiety to make light of the serious mental illness that they struggle with.

#6: “Blame It On The A-A-A-A-A Anxiety”

There are a lot of people who struggle with anxiety, and it is a serious mental illness that shouldn’t be glamorized and made light of. This is just another example of merchandise that glamorizes and makes light of a serious mental illness. Mental illness should always be taken seriously.

#7: “I usually try to keep my sadness inside where it can fester quietly as a mental illness”

It’s not safe for people struggling with depression to hold it in and not seek help from a clinical professional. This shirt implies that it is supporting people struggling with sadness and depression to not seek the help that they need. Always encourage those suffering with depression to seek help from a counselor or even from a friend or family member. Simply talking to a friend can help that person a lot.

#8: “Eat Less”

Urban Outfitters received severe backlash after they manufactured this shirt and sold it at their stores. Because of that, they pulled it from their stores, which is great, but this shirt stems from a larger issue of glamorizing and making light of eating disorders and mental illness. This shirt encourages eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. Eating disorders are not glamorous and they need to be taken seriously.

#9: “I Have OCD But I Only Clean Things When I’m In The Mood Because I’m Also Bipolar”

Not only does this shirt make fun of OCD, which is a serious mental illness, but it also makes light of bipolar disorder, which is another serious mental illness. OCD and bipolar disorder are serious mental illnesses that should be taken seriously.

#10: "Depression"

This is a classic example of glamorizing depression, which is a serious mental illness that many children and adults suffer with in the United States. This shirt was also manufactured and sold at Urban Outfitters, and it was taken out of the stores and off of their website because it received harsh criticism for glamorizing depression. Depression, as well as all other mental illnesses, are not fashion statements and should be taken seriously.

I hope this list shed some light on the problem with glamorizing mental illnesses in our society. Mental illness should always be taken seriously. For more information on mental illness in the United States, please visit the following website: www.nami.org.

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