Friday, October 20, 2006

Psychosiphobia

Coast Mental Health is an organization that provides help to people with a mental illness in British Columbia. The group with the help of Grey has invented the word psychosiphobia, in hopes of raising awareness and breaking the negative stigma associated with people who suffer from mental illnesses. According to Adrants, the word psychosiphobia was written on the street at a Vancouver intersection that is a dividing line between a business district and a troubled neighborhood where many people trying to cope with a mental illness are living. The campaign also included volunteers handing out information to pedestrians as well as local newspaper, radio, and television ads.

Coast Mental Health’s website and some of their print advertisements remind me of a less extreme version of the tobacco truth commercials. They both use uncomfortable social ideas accompanied with facts to call the public to action. I think writing psychosiphobia on the street was an effective idea because most people that live in the area know what the environment is like on both sides of the street but do not talk about it. Publicly exposing the problem (writing on the street) might force people to address the issues of mental illness in the community and bring people to change the situation.

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