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East Lancashire mental health boss blasts ‘psycho’ suits
A MENTAL health chief has blasted supermarket chains which advertised ‘tasteless’ Hallowe’en costumes referring to mental health issues.
Asda issued an apology yesterday – and said it would donate £25,000 to the mental health charity Mind – after it advertised an outfit featuring someone covered in blood and brandishing a machete as a ‘mental patient fancy dress costume’.
Tesco was also forced to apologise for a different costume, a bright orange jump suit called Psycho Ward.
David Young, chief executive of Whalley-based Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which cares for patients with severe learning disabilities, hit out at those who ‘make fun’ of mental illnesses.
He said: “The recent tasteless sales of comedy mental patient costumes by some of the country’s biggest retailers were a terrible misjudgement, a negative stereotype from years past.
“But they have an effect on ‘mental patients’ – individuals – today.
“Many of them are shoppers, too.
“They could easily have come face-to-face with what some unthinking costume designer thought they’re all like.”
David Mellelieu, 24, of Osbaldeston, said he was stunned when he came across the costume at the Asda store in Bolton with his mum Pat, from Darwen, who suffers severe paranoia.
He said: “I was absolutely fuming because my mother felt completely violated.
“The costumes are nothing like what you see in a psychiatric hospital.
“I just couldn’t believe it. It’s not something you want to see when one of your loved ones has a mental illness.”
He said he immediately telephoned Asda’s head office and demanded they withdraw the item from stores.
A spokesman for Asda said: “We’re deeply sorry one of our fancy dress costumes has upset people.
“This was an unacceptable error.
“The product was withdrawn immediately.”
A Tesco spokesman said: “We’re really sorry for any offence this has caused and we are removing this product from sale.”
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