Supermarket giant Asda has been forced to apologise after it advertised a fancy dress outfit featuring someone covered in blood and brandishing a machete as a "mental patient fancy dress costume".
The Halloween costume , which has now been withdrawn, was on sale for £20.
Sue Baker campaigner for mental health charity Mind, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "Nine out of 10 people using mental health services in patient care report stigma and discrimination from a range of sources.
"Stigma and discrimination is unfortunately still really damaging in England today and this kind of myth of the dangerousness posed by people, that you should be scared of anyone who has used mental health services, is really damaging.
"(Asda) certainly crossed the line here and I hear it might well have been changed with the addition of mental patient, so it was definitely being used to tap into negative stereotypes."
Asda have shown themselves to be extremely misguided with their ‘mental health patient’ fancy dress costume.
It is staggeringly offensive to the one in four of us affected by mental health problems and our families and friends, and troubling that some businesses are still so out of touch with the public mood.
However it is encouraging to see the groundswell of outcry on Twitter and that our voices are being heard.
We hope this will urge Asda as well as other retailers and manufacturers to review their processes and consider taste and decency on mental health grounds, to avoid fuelling stigma and discrimination that are so damaging for large numbers of the population.
– Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness
Former footballer Stan Collymore and political spin doctor Alistair Campbell have expressed disgust at supermarket giant Asda advertising a fancy dress outfit featuring someone covered in blood and brandishing a machete as a "mental patient fancy dress costume".
The Halloween costume, which has now been withdrawn, was on sale for £20 through the supermarket's clothing arm George.
Collymore, who has a well-documented battle with depression, tweeted: "Dear ASDA, nice stereotype of " Mental patients". Something you'd expect from the ###. A f***ing joke."
"Do you actually realise how many people are hanging themselves because of being frightened of the stigma? Wording is CLEAR. MENTAL PATIENT."
Former Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell, who has also suffered from depression, tweeted: "Look what Asda's selling... what possesses these people?"
Leeds-based supermarket giant Asda has been forced to apologise after it advertised a fancy dress outfit featuring someone covered in blood and brandishing a machete as a "mental patient fancy dress costume".
The Halloween costume, which is designed to look like a blood-splattered straitjacket with ragged edges, was on sale for £20 through the supermarket's clothing arm George.
Asda apologised for the incident in a series of tweets and said it would be making a donation to mental health charity Mind.
The company said: "We're deeply sorry one of our fancy dress costumes has upset people. This was an unacceptable error - the product was withdrawn immediately.
"We removed the product from our website this afternoon but unfortunately the page may remain visible for a few more hours."
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