25 September 2014
Women With Disabilities WA Inc Joins Other Community Organisations In A Call to Remove Exhibitions that Stigmatise People with Mental Health Issues
Women With Disabilities WA Inc is deeply concerned that the Royal Agricultural Show has two Family and Kid’s Show Attractions that stigmatise people with mental health issues.
“Bethlem” and “Asylum 3D Spinning Horror” both take stereotypes of people with mental health issues as an object of fear and entertainment.
It is estimated that up to 50% of Australians will experience mental health issues at some point in their life time. Stigma is a major problem to people seeking help and experiencing recovery.
According to leading suicide prevention organisation Lifeline, suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44. People who are struggling with suicidal feelings are often afraid of seeking help for fear of mistreatment by mental health professionals and institutions.
The exhibitions make light of the dark history of institutional abuse of people with mental health issues and other disabilities. Bethlem actors in the exhibit stereotype consumers as dangerous, unpredictable, physically different from others, while the exhibition encourages consumers to be viewed as a tourist attraction and as an object of fun for the general public.
The Royal Show is Perth’s largest community event and with an estimated 400,000 people children and families viewing these exhibitions will significant undermine stigma reduction efforts in our community.
WWDWA Inc urgently calls on the Royal Agricultural Show and sponsors to:
Immediately close the sideshow exhibitions, and to
Issue an apology to the public for hosting attractions that misrepresent people with mental health issues as an object of fear, humour and entertainment
For more information and media enquiries please contact WWDWA Inc Coordinator Rayna Lamb on 9244 7463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org