Rethink: Laughing at Kerry Katona's speech is like poking fun at a wheelchair
Monday, 27 October 2008
Kerry Katona's illness - mental health charity Rethink, reacts.
When asked about her slurred speech on This Morning Kerry Katona was honest and said it was due to the side-effects of her medication. Kerry's been brave; she's open about her mental illness and about its treatment. And it's true - medication for mental illnesses often cause side-effects like slurred speech and drowsiness. Yet she continues to be derided. Kerry is doing exactly the right thing by taking her medication - but press reports have described the incident as like 'witnessing a car crash'.
We wouldn't dream of making fun of someone with a physical disability who uses a wheelchair , so why is it still socially acceptable to have a good laugh at someone who is being treated for a mental health problem? Thousands of people are affected by mental illness and receive treatment that can cause side-effects. And like Kerry they are often stigmatised because of it.
If this is the sort of reaction you get when you come out about a mental health problem, is it any wonder it is still such a taboo? It's about time our attitudes to mental illness caught up with our attitudes to physical health. If you wouldn't poke fun at someone with a physical disability for using a wheelchair, don't do it to someone with a mental illness for merely taking their medication.
Acting Media Manager
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Rethink: 89 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7TP
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