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Close Six Flags New England's Psycho-Path Haunted Asylum

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Dear John Winkler,

             We are calling for the immediate closure of the 2016 Fright Fest Psycho-Path Haunted Asylum. As a very visible contributor to the greater community, you hold a responsibility to reflect an accurate and respectful representation of the members of that community. This year’s theme for Fright Fest explicitly supports the dehumanizing portrayal and treatment of people given psychiatric diagnoses and those who seek support from psychiatric services. As such, this exhibit must be cancelled.

             This portrayal, however fictional, of individuals with psychiatric diagnoses is extremely harmful in that it supports and propagates existing demeaning and dehumanizing prejudices. These prejudices have serious consequences, including: 

  • These portrayals lead to violence. Media that portrays people with psychiatric diagnoses as dangerous, unpredictable and violent increases societal fear and rejection of this community, as well as decreases the likelihood that those struggling with mental health difficulties will seek help (Stuart, 2006).
  • Individuals with psychiatric diagnoses are up to 140 times more likely to be the victims of violence compared to individuals without those diagnoses (Maniglio, 2009).
  • Every major research study since 1998 has shown that people with psychiatric diagnoses are no more likely to commit violence that those without diagnoses (National Coalition on Mental Health Recovery). 

          We condemn this appalling exploitation of a misrepresented population as a means of making profit.  We demand respect for all members of society. And we demand that you not forget that users and survivors of the psychiatric system are members of those families that you hope to entertain.

 

          Stuart, H. (2006). Media portrayal of mental illness and its treatments: what effect does it have on people with mental illness? CNS Drugs, 20(2), 99-106.

          Maniglio, R. (2009). Severe mental illness and criminal victimization: a systematic review. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 119, 180-191.

          National Coalition on Mental Health Recovery (2014). http://www.ncmhr.org/downloads/Research-on%20people-with-mental-health-diagnoses-and-violence%204-16-2014.pdf



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