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LETTERS: Haunted house disparaging to the mentally ill

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Gwinnett is aware of the Halloween haunted house, Terror in the Square, in Lawrenceville. NAMI Gwinnett members are offended and appalled at the concept of this form of “entertainment” and its advertisement.

The advertisement states: “Visit a late 1800s sanitarium psychiatric ward for the criminally insane. Witness an actual electrocution. … take part in experiments conducted on patients.” This verbiage shows a lack of concern for the atrocities that occurred in these psychiatric facilities.

The lack of knowledge about the diagnosis and successful treatment of mental illness is very concerning. Mental illness is a no-fault brain disorder that should never be used as entertainment. Sadly, people with mental illness were locked up in sanitariums due to the lack of understanding about the illness and fear of the unknown.

NAMI urges the public not to support such a potentially harmful form of “entertainment.”

Facts show that:

1) One in 17 people lives with a serious mental illness.

2) One in four adults, about 57.7 million Americans, experiences a mental health disorder in a single year.

3) Four of the 10 leading causes of disability in developed countries are mental disorders.

Most people know someone with such a disorder.

NAMI Gwinnett chooses to educate people about dealing with these illnesses, as well as the options available for treatment and support of sufferers and their families.

More information can be found at: www.nami.org

— Alan McDaniel,

President

National Alliance

on Mental Illness

of Gwinnett

Lawrenceville