Throughout my journey of being a mental health advocate, I am constantly coming across products that are offensive. They are offensive to those that truly understand what it means to be sad, depressed and even mentally unstable. However, different companies time and time again promote products that not only offend those who are treating their illnesses but also discourage more from seeking help.
All of these products are things I found from stores at which I commonly shop. I have found these products this week alone, and none of them are older or retired items. By calling these companies out as being offensive, it is my hope there will be less incentive to sell products that hurt the whole mental health community.
1. "Cheaper Than Therapy"
I have found so many variations of this line. I've seen it plastered on everything from flasks to shoes. It promotes the idea that something you may find enjoyable can help solve your problems just as well as professional therapy. Interestingly enough, the opposite is true. Often, for people who have severe problems, they will use these "cheaper then therapy" activities until it becomes an addiction. Often referred to as Retail Therapy, it can lead to serious problems, often including major debt. Here is a link explaining some help for shopping addictions.
2. "Take a Chill Pill"
Being told to just be happy or to relax is one of the worst things that you can say to someone who actually suffers from something that doesn't allow them to do that. If someone could change their mood with just one pill, they probably would. Also, medicine doesn't get rid of life's problems. It helps people come to terms with life's problems. Products like this one promote the idea that medication is a casual thing that can take away your problems and that having real mental health issues is not a big deal.
3. "Just Snap Out Of It"
Along with being told to take a pill to solve your problems, this is also a very offensive thing to hear when you actually have a mental illness. Again, if people could just magically make their problems go away, they would. When someone is having an anxiety attack, a cycle of depression or even just not feeling like herself, the last thing she needs to hear is that she needs to "just snap out of it." The worst thing about this pin is that, to be honest, the person who is suffering from any mental health issues is probably already thinking this, and to see it put out right in front of that person is almost a slap to the face.
Although these are just small things, they attack people who are suffering. Products like these are marketed out everyday. These three items are from Francesca's, Ban.do and Urban Outfitters, and all are marketed to our generation. If these are the brands that appeal to us, then why are they offensive to a whole group of people? As I come across more items such as these, I will continue to shed light and expose them as well. If you agree with this article, please share and post how you have seen offensive products towards mental health. The only way to create change is to make it happen, and this is one way we can do that.