I like Halloween although how I celebrate it has changed a lot over the years: from trick or treating in fancy dress, going to clubs in fancy dress, going to house parties in fancy dress, and now carving pumpkins with my boyfriend in my pyjamas (which I love doing by the way). I like to watch Hocus Pocus and Frankenweenie and eat left over Haribo
that I saved for myself that didn’t get eaten.
However, one thing I truly hate about this holiday is how so many people use it to negatively portray mental illness. I’m so tired of seeing different variations of the tired old ‘scary serial killer psychopath mental patient’ costume. A few years ago after a social media backlash, Asda and Tesco withdrew their take on these outfits. This was in 2013. It’s 4 years later, and every single year this has presented itself as an issue, and every single year we are having this same argument.
We are not dangerous. People with mental health problems are significantly more likely to be victims of crime than commit it. At what point is this going to end?
I feel incredibly proud to be a tiny part of the change in attitudes towards mental health that so many of us are working so hard for, and in many ways it’s clear that we are making a lot of progress as a society. But at this time of the year, every single year, it becomes clear that we still have a long way to go.
I, for one, will not stop this fight until we don’t have to have this conversation any more, and I’m so grateful to all of you who are joining this fight with me.