Let the Sun Shine
Dear Friends and Supporters,
I was struck yesterday by a TV advertisement promoting solar panels. The spokesperson and company’s senior executive clearly believed in his product — a technology that, for the record, I fully support and promote myself. What struck me was his unnecessary choice of words.
Playing on our collective angst and insecurities about the stock market and the economy, he described the circumstance we find ourselves facing now as PSYCHO. And as the seconds ticked by in that 30 second spot, he continued to cavalierly toss around words intended to scare, unsettle and pejoratively describe a situation seemingly beyond our control. His answer? Of course, install solar panels!
His carefully crafted sales pitch also included the words BI-POLAR, CRAZY and, if memory serves me correctly, even MENTAL.
I’m sure he thought nothing of his choices, but I am hopeful that others took note, because what he unwittingly did was to reinforce the negative stereotypes about the mentally ill that continue to marginalize them and promote the thinking that they should be feared. This flippant use of these terms is exactly the kind of behavior that reinforces a desire to hide one’s illness and it contributes to the challenges those with psychiatric disorders already face in seeking the help they need to lead happy and productive lives.
They are our brothers, our sons, our friends, and employees too. Let’s not cast them to the sidelines. They need and deserve our compassion and whatever help we can provide.
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