A donut shop may seem like an unlikely venue for a hot debate about the rights of those with mental health difficulties and related social stigmas. After all, such eateries are usually expected to be a fun and relaxing spot to dig into a deliciously sinful treat. Of course, not all donut shops take on such a creative theme as San Francisco’s “Psycho Donuts.” The unusually named shop specializes in a range of donuts and other sweet items, aimed at creating a fun and different atmosphere by making use of a mental health institution theme. The servers are donned in lab coats and other standard clinical items, and the goodies for sale are aptly named, in keeping with the theme. The “Bipolar” donut features half nuts and half coconut; the “Manic Malt” provides sweet liquid refreshment. Though the shop may have had the best of intentions in mind when visualizing its theme, a group of mental health advocates, the Community Alliance United to Seek Equality, has taken quite a bit of offense to the idea.
Protesting in front of the shop, the group expressed anger over the use of names associated with social stigmas about mental health services and those who are treated for relevant health issues. Maintaining that the community should be educated about the reality of the topic, the group clearly disapproves of any argument for creative license. For some, the shop is clearly an indication of ignorance about mental health, while for others, the theme is a fun and casual way to grab a bite to eat, and perhaps enjoy a jab at the facts of life. Whether the protests are a valuable and appropriate response to the store or are over-concerned about a bit of culinary creativity seems to remain largely a matter of opinion.
© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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