“Don’t get mad, take lithium” wrote Joy, a clothes chain, with 26 shops nationwide, on one of their greeting cards, available for sale. Spotted by one of the customers, the words trivialising bipolar disorder sparkled social media, causing anger and distress among those who could relate to the problem of manic-depressive illness, as well as among mental health charities.
Stories like this one hit the headlines now and then, exposing a lack of understanding of the nature of mental illness and questionable marketing strategies. However, what usually follows is a more or less sincere apology and withdrawal of the product of interest. The unfortunate story usually makes its exit as quickly as it makes its entrance to the national news. Not this time, though.
The response from Joy fell far short of what was expected. “If you know anyone with bipolar disorder, don't buy it for them. PROBLEM SOLVED!” And that was not the end. When asked about people with bipolar who may go in shopping for themselves, the store replied: “They'll like it one minute and hate it the next?”
As The Independent reports, after a long and completely unnecessary discussion, exposing both lack of basic knowledge of the mental health issues and bad business ethics, the shop finally apologized. Will they remove the card from their shops? They have not said. Let us hope so.
|The insensitive message on Joy's card|
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is currently the sixth main cause of disability in the world. It is a type of psychosis, with harmful outcomes as much to the suffering individual as to her closest environment. One in five people experiencing the illness end their life by committing suicide; BD makes individuals far more likely to commit suicide than any other psychiatric or medical risk group, including schizophrenia. Accordingly, BD has been associated with remarkable stigma.
What is lithium?
Lithium is one of the most widely used and studied medications for treating bipolar disorder. It helps reduce the severity and frequency of mania, relieve or prevent bipolar depression. It works to stabilize the mood and reduce extremes in behavior by restoring the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain.