• Quote of the Day
    "Don't let what you can't do interfere with what you can do."
    John Wooden, posted by David Baxter

David Baxter

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NAMI StigmaBuster Alert
March 23, 2007

Bumper Cars
It’s been a strange winter for car commercials, with several portraying suicide methods or trivializing mental illness. First the General Motors ad showing a depressed robot during the Super Bowl. Then a Volkswagen ad showing a man poised to jump from a buildings. And then in El Paso, Texas, a local car dealer showed a man in a straitjacket being chased around a car lot by a nurse with a hypodermic needle. In each case, NAMI StigmaBusters helped get the ads cancelled or changed.

Call to Action: Wristcutters
Unfortunately, another offensive—and dangerous—suicide marketing campaign is planned.

AfterDark Films will release a film this summer, Wristcutters: A Love Story. Described as “a dark romantic comedy.” it will be distributed by Lionsgate Entertainment. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006 and has won some film festival awards. NAMI has not had an opportunity to view it, and makes no judgment at this time about its content or creative merit.

Beginning in April, however, AfterDark plans to launch an advertising campaign with cutouts of characters jumping off a bridge, electrocuting and hanging themselves. The signs will be placed on telephone poles and trees in major markets.

“We just hope they don’t cause too many accidents,” AfterDark’s managing partner, Courtney Solomon said. Never mind “suicide contagion,” through which portrayals of suicide in the mass media stimulate an increase of “copycat suicides” by people in distress.

Recently, protests forced AfterDark to remove 30 billboards in Los Angeles promoting the release of another film Captivity which showed graphic images of women, being kidnapped, confined, tortured and killed. Solomon claimed the billboards had been put put up by mistake.

On March 12, NAMI and 13 other national organizations signed a joint letter to AfterDark and Lionsgate, asking that the graphic suicide marketing campaign be dropped. So far there has been no response by AfterDark. Lionsgate claims they have nothing to do with marketing decisions.

Please contact both companies:

  • Stop the Wristcutters suicide marketing campaign
  • Research shows that portrayals of suicide in mass media generate “suicide contagion.” The planned advertising campaign is recklessly indifferent to the risk of promoting real deaths.
  • Images of suicide are cruel and offensive to people who have lost family or friends to suicide, or themselves survived suicide attempts.
  • Share a short personal story about mental illness, suicide, or stigma
Mr. Jon Feltheimer
CEO & Co-Chairman
Lionsgate Entertainment Corporation
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
310- 449-9200 (o)
310- 255-3870 (fax)
general-inquiries@lgf.com

Mr. Courtney Solomon
Partner
AfterDark Films
2161 N. Bronson Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90068
323-468-9888
info@wristcutters.com

Short handwritten notes sent by regular mail sometimes have a special impact, especially with Lionsgate. If emails to either company bounce back because the in-box is full, please consider calling. If voice mailboxes are full, consider sending a note. Overflowing mailboxes, means other StigmaBusters are also helping to make a difference. The more contact the better, from all directions!

Stella March
National Coordinator
NAMI StigmaBusters
 
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Beginning in April, however, AfterDark plans to launch an advertising campaign with cutouts of characters jumping off a bridge, electrocuting and hanging themselves. The signs will be placed on telephone poles and trees in major markets.

“We just hope they don’t cause too many accidents,” AfterDark’s managing partner, Courtney Solomon said. Never mind “suicide contagion,” through which portrayals of suicide in the mass media stimulate an increase of “copycat suicides” by people in distress.
i am absolutely horrified by this - what about children seeing these images on the telephone poles and the trees? what posesses these people? there is so much exposure to violence and sex in the media as it is.

Recently, protests forced AfterDark to remove 30 billboards in Los Angeles promoting the release of another film Captivity which showed graphic images of women, being kidnapped, confined, tortured and killed. Solomon claimed the billboards had been put put up by mistake.
how can producing 30 billboards with these explicit images be a mistake? i don't believe that for a second.
 

David Baxter

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Exactly. This isn't like a minor typo in a pamphlet or newspaper ad. These suckers are HUGE.
 

Banned

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Wow. This is appalling. If this movie is aired they can most definitely expect suicide rates to increase. Sadly, no one will be held accountable for anything.
 
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what i don't understand is WHY these moviemakers feel the need to make these kinds of movies??

it just sickens me :(
 

Retired

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I was pleased to learn the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) was instrumental in removing the car ads referred to. When I saw them first aired, I was appalled, but didn't know there was an organization with strong enough lobby power to make a difference.

The organization has affiliates in every State in the U.S. and I wonder if there is an organization in Canada with a similar mission?

Would the Canadian Mental Health Association fill such a role?
 

HA

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What a dreadful ad campaign. Good grief! I'm so glad NAMI succeeded in this one.

Steve,
No, the CMHA does not fill the same role as NAMI. NAMI is a grassroots family advocacy group for mental illness. CMHA operates from a consumer perspective for mental health. There can be diverse philosphies between the two. As well, CMHA has a broad spectrum concerning mental health. It is not just a mental illness concerned organization which NAMI is. There is no national organization in Canada similar to NAMI except for the Schizophrenia Society of Canada and this organization is primarily concerned with schizophrenia.

The USA also has a national organization similar to CMHA which was called the National Mental Health Association and recently changed its name to Mental Health America.

I also wanted to add that government funding and mandates are including family initiatives and we are seeing more "family" inclusiveness and programming as a result.
 
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