Hypocrites, Empress Hotel and Hammock Days!

Pete, Patti, and Bella (see end of blog)
As promised, I began sending out copies of my blogs about Burger King’s offensive advertisement to friends of mine in the national media starting  last Thursday night. The first to respond was my old employer, The Washington Post.
Writer Monica Hesse spoke with NAMI Director Mike Fitzpatrick and MHA Director David Shern and then contacted Burger King.

Making Burger King Accountable: Part TWO

I writing again about the need to make Burger King accountable for the objectionable television advertisement that it is broadcasting and to bring you up-to-date about my campaign to make the company pull this ad off the airways.

 After writing about the ad in my Wednesday blog, I sent out appeals to four different mental health advocacy groups.

 My friends, Bob Carolla and Ron Honberg at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the largest grassroots mental health advocacy group in the nation, responded immediately. Bob, who heads up NAMI’s media relations, and Ron, its director of policy and legal affairs, told me that NAMI Executive Director Mike Fitzpatrick already had written a letter complaining to Burger King. 

Mike had mailed it March 4th, but Burger King’s Chief John W. Chidsey had not had the courtesy of responding. (Mike’s letter is attached at the end of this blog.)

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Let’s Make Burger King Accountable

On its website, Burger King shows a video about social responsibility with Pete Smith, one of its top managers, talking about the importance of diversity and treating people respectfully. 

Apparently Mr. Smith has not watched the newest television commercials that his company is broadcasting on prime time.

The Burger King — which is, I guess, what you call the company’s mascot — is shown being chased by two men in white coats. A woman watching the chase helps the fleeing King by tossing water in one of the men’s faces while the other man screams that the King is CRAZY. Meanwhile, the King runs away.

Get it? Little men in white coats chasing someone who is crazy. Ha, ha, ha.

The ad, of course, turns people with serious mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depression into a  punch line. Oh, those CRAZY people need to be locked up.  The ad is demeaning and it  marginalizes people with serious disorders while increasing stigma and harmful stereotypes.

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My Mom’s Eyesight and Best-sellers

Life threw me a curve ball a few days ago when my mother stepped into my office and said she could no longer read the dial on her over-sized watch.

I immediately suspected the worst.

About twenty years ago, my mom went in for what was supposed to be the routine removal of a cataract from her left eye. Instead, an incompetent doctor in Rapid City, South Dakota, damaged her optical nerve and blinded that eye.

My mother, being who she is, simply went on with her life.

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What I’d do differently!

Since the publication of my book, CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, I have been fortunate enough to speak in 45 states (Yes, I still am waiting for invitations from groups in Oklahoma, Nevada, Mississippi, Alaska and Hawaii, hint, hint) and I have toured dozens of successful treatment programs. Sometimes readers ask me what I would do differently if I were given a chance to rewrite my book. It is an interesting question because I have learned so much and met so many fascinating people during the past several years.

The first thing I would do is change the title.

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When do you go public?

What I like most about writing a blog is that it provides all of us another venue for exchanging ideas.  So I am going to ask for your help and advice.
One of the many questions that Mike and I wrestle with is: When should a person with a mental illness reveal his disorder? 
Should he disclose it on a job application when he is seeking employment?
Should he bring it up during an interview for a job?
On a personal level, when Mike is dating, when should he — if ever — mention it?