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You crazy! Mental health advocates in uproar over high school dance team’s ‘psych ward’ routine

Feb 5, 2011, 12:46 PM EDT


We take you now to Waunakee, WI, where the Waunakee High School dance team is headed to the state competition with a rather unique routine. In it, the team “gets crazy” while wearing uniforms resembling straitjackets and restraints with the words “Psych Ward” on them. The girls, however, have been forced to tone down their routine after complaints from mental health advocates and parents that their act mocks the mentally ill. Political correctness gone mad? You be the judge.

From the Capital Times:

News of the routine spread fast this week after photos of the dancers in their costumes were published in the Waunakee Tribune. “The pictures are quite disturbing,” says Hugh Davis, executive director of Wisconsin Family Ties. “We had parents and kids with mental health issues standing in the office with tears in their eyes. This brings up painful memories. It is incredibly insensitive.”

Following the uproar, the dance team has agreed to cover up the words “Psych Ward” on their costumes, and will also read a statement prior to their performance which includes a “we apologize to anyone we might have offended,” non-apology apology.

Not that they should be apologizing in the first place. Exactly who is crazy here? If the girls feel in retrospect that their routine is insensitive and wrong, they should admit it and dump it. If they don’t feel that way, they should keep it unchanged and go full-speed ahead with the madness. Teaching our children to back down under pressure is not cool.

Erin Cotter, the team’s head coach, says she is taken aback by how upset people are about the routine. “I don’t understand where they are coming from,” she says. Hip-hop is all about being “bold,” she says. Last year, a competing team dressed in orange jumpsuits pretended they were prisoners, she says. “The whole point is to get people pumped up and energized. Our intent had nothing to do with mental illness. Our total intent was just a hip-hop dance and the songs and the words that were popular. The thought never crossed my mind or the school’s or the parents’ or the kids’ that it was about mental illness.”

Look, until we get a complaint from Giants’ reliever Brian Wilson, I say that his dance routine is good to go as is.

Vital Signs: Waunakee High’s ‘Psych Ward’ dance routine upsets advocates for mentally ill [The Capital Times]

  1. swisscheesedefense - Feb 5, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    Do all mentally ill people bleed from their eyes?

    • tiger5150 - Feb 7, 2011 at 7:29 PM

      No I support that advocates in this matter This is discussing however I don’t blame the students or even the parents although i think they should really take some culpability I blame the educators how dare you allow such a blatant act of shear ignorance to occur You should all be terminated These types of ignorant displays of stupidity are why the mentally ill are stigmatized And of course the mentally ill do not bleed from the eyes what is your point exactly Have you been to a psych ward have you worked with the mentally ill do you know anything about what they go through and continue to go through I say to the mental health advocates fire away take this one to the supreme court but it won’t will it because it is just some kids having “fun” fun at the expense of a very misunderstood underserved and almost forgotten population of our society Hey you with the stupid question about the mentally ill having blood from their eyes do you have anyone in your family that is mentally ill We all need to pause for a moment and think about exactly what this messages is sending to our youth Hey I know why don’t we stick them in water and large cyclone tubs and submerge them into the water until their brains return to normal that is what they were doing only a 100 years ago that era was called the middle ages are we still there I say shame on all of you involved SHAME ON YOU

  2. haroldamaio - Feb 5, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Let me ask you a question, MSNBC: Were they appearing in “blackface” would you be questioning the negative reponse?

    Harold A. Maio, retired Mental Health Editor

    • everyminute1 - Feb 7, 2011 at 5:52 PM

      OK.. I have a perfect example of some big coverage about the Pepsi Super Bowl commercial.. This is a perfect example.

      According to MSNBC, there is a public backlash to the PepsiCo, Inc.’s Super Bowl XLV commercial for ‘Pepsi Zero Max’ that featured the angry black woman. The negative response involves females – black females, in particular – who have said they are tired of being portrayed as angry such advertisements.

      Continue reading on Pepsi Max’s Super Bowl XLV Ad under attack (VIDEO of ad) – National Conservative |

  3. chrisahickey - Feb 5, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    Excellent point, Harold. Or if they had been dressed as persons with cognitive disabilities? Or acted as if they had Parkinson’s?

    Why is it ok to mock the mentally ill?

    • taooftaylor - Feb 9, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      “Why is it ok to mock the mentally ill?”

      Because they believe that we cannot advocate for ourselves and further more that offending us will not in any way affect their bottom line.

      Here’s another question, Why is being politically correct only a responsible course of action when the party wronged is a party of perceived influence?

    • edadvocates - Feb 10, 2011 at 9:07 PM

      Chrisa, it is because the uninformed in our society believe things like what I have posted below (that sickens me):

      “This is darwinianism in action. The weak and stupid in society do not have enough food, shelter, benefits. Thus, they die, and do not reproduce, making future generations stronger and wiser. Why do libs have a problem with this evolutionary concept which they espouse?”

      The above was a response to the “letter of the day” from yesterday’s Star Tribune discussing the impact of $900M in recommended budget cuts that will mainly impact health and social welfare programs:

      People just won’t get it until “we” help them to understand. Thanks for your work, Chrisa!

  4. xstarlightembers - Feb 5, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    I’m not usually one to be strict with political correctness; but this is insulting, hurtful and flat out insensitive.

    I am diagnosed with a mood and psychotic disorder. I have tried to commit suicide. I have been in the psych wards they mock. It is not funny. It is not something to laugh at. The people who are admitted to these hospitals are hurting, scared and, many times, have given up on life completely. They are on that line between life and death. And, unlike those who suffer from cancer, Alzheimer’s, or another life-threatening physical impairment, people – like the person who wrote this article – tell them to get over it and stop being so sensitive.

    Going through that IS a trauma. Just like a person who had to be hospitalized for a life threatening disease, suffering from severe mental illness results in symptoms of trauma. Being reminded of those times hurts.

    If this dance league sang a song and had an outfit where they wore hospital gowns, fake IVs, displayed the behaviors associated with dementia, shaved their hair and sang amount a brain tumor, we would be seething with anger. There would be outcry. Cancer patients would be sharing their stories. Families of lost loved ones would be sobbing on TV.. Here? We are told to shut up and not be offended. If a mentally ill person spoke of their feelings, they would be criticized. If a family that lost someone to suicide sobbed on TV, they would be told that their family member is in Hell and to get over it.

    This is NOT OK.
    And NBC? Condoning it makes you even worse.

    • tiger5150 - Feb 7, 2011 at 7:36 PM

      Good for you my friend Speak out loudly against ignorance I want to apologize to you for the rest of us in this human race who are not stupid idiots that they would allow such a thing to happen I to am a sufferer of mental illness well I like to call myself a survivor and my heart goes out to you you are right this is ugly and shameless But I blame the educators they are suppose to be “intelligent” enough to know better I say to those educators SHAME ON YOU what are you teaching these kids that it is okay to mock the mentally ill Hey I have a suggestion for you have your cheer leaders go to a psych hospital or a homeless shelter for the mentally ill and speak with my fellow surviors and you will find that they are just like you and I HUMAN BEINGS

  5. haroldamaio - Feb 5, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    Now to fet MSNBC to ackowledge its insensitivity.

    MSNBC “Teaching our children to back down under pressure is not cool” is an asinine response. Teaching right from wrong is responsible, Rick Chandler and MSNBC are w a y out of line.

    Harold A. Maio, retired Mental Health Editor

    • edadvocates - Feb 10, 2011 at 8:48 PM

      Amen, Harold!

  6. chrisahickey - Feb 6, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    Hey Rick – here’s a guest blog written by a fourteen year old girl about this routine. I hope you’ll read it.

    • edadvocates - Feb 10, 2011 at 8:54 PM

      Yes, Rick, do read the above post if you have not already; then, go sit for a bit and consider the number of people in America affected by mental illness, especially kids diagnosed with disorders, like my 10yo son, and 15yo Erika who wrote the letter featured on Chrisa’s blog. After you have read the above, those of us dealing personally on a daily basis with mental illness will await your heartfelt apology because we are ANGRY!!

  7. mother1984 - Feb 6, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    As the mother of a 26 year old son with a serious mental illness I am appalled at the idea of the Waunakee High School dance team headed to the state competition to “get crazy” while wearing uniforms resembling straitjackets and restraints with the words “Psych Ward” on them. My son has a has been involuntary hospitalized and placed in restraints due to his brain disease. He has been to hell and back and is now stabilized and fully compliant with his treatment plan. He shouldn’t have to deal with the stigma on top of everything else. This routine only perpetuates the stigma associated with mental illness which is based on ignorance and fear. Using words like “crazy” and “psych ward” and using props like straight jackets and restraints is an insult to him and everyone else dealing with a mental illness. And yes an apology is in order and shame on the teams head coach as well. If they had been through what my son has been through in his young life, they wouldn’t dare make fun of people who are so seriousy ill.

  8. picklesprincess - Feb 6, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    I’m almost…almost at a loss for words. At a loss that a leader of young people, the dance teacher, would encourage and promote such socially irresponsible routine. I’m also almost at a loss for the reaction of Mr. Chandler. It’s not encouraging our children to back down. It’s encouraging our children to be sensitive and responsible about their choice of actions and to take just a minute to think about how their actions have a ripple effect on others in their community and the world.

    My 6 year old daughter has a significant mental illness. An illness that has placed her in the hospital children’s psychiatric unit twice in the last 6 months. Last week my beautiful 6 year old daughter tried to strangle herself with a ribbon from one of her favorite stuffed animals. Mental Illness is nothing to be mocked.

    More than anything my daughter would love nothing more than to take dance and cheer classes. Our local pro football team has a cheer program for girls her age. She sees dancers on television, cheerleaders on television and it’s all she can talk about for days. I wish more than anything that she could take the lessons, but she can’t because she isn’t able to function in the environment of a dance class. In group activities her paranoia kicks in and she ends up terrified and overwhelmed. To see a group of young ladies doing one thing my daughter may not be able to do, no matter how badly she wants to do on her better days…to see this group of young ladies performing in such a matter. It’s heartbreaking.

    To say the routine is just set to a song with lyrics that is popular with the kids is a flimsy cop-out. A lot of kids like songs with lyrics that are violent, anti-social and hyper-sexual. Does that mean it would be OOK for a dance team to perform to a song about illicit drug use, killing police officers or a song that promotes casual sex? Those are popular lyrics in plenty of hip-hop songs. Just because it’s a popular song with the kids these days? To say that they didn’t think it had anything at all to do with Mental Illness is ridiculous. What else do the words, “Psych Ward”, “straight jackets and restrains” bring to mind? A summer baseball game and backyard BBQ? Give me a break. As for comparing this routine to one in which the dancers dressed in prison uniforms is not a realistic comparison. A person choses to hold up a bank, they chose to murder someone; no one choses to suffer from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other mental health issues.

    To Mr. Chandler I would say…so it’s “not cool” for these girls and their coach to make a legit and heart felt apology for behaving in such a hurtful and disrespectful way. I guess then in your mind it must be “cool” to ridicule those whose lives are turned upside down by something they can’t control.

    I hope and pray that Mr. Chandler, Ms. Cotter, and the girls on that dance team never have to experience the hell that is mental illness. I also hope and pray that the girls, their coach, and yes even you Mr. Chandler think about how your words and actions can be hurtful to people who need your support and compassion.

    Kirsten Hansen

  9. lizbowden08 - Feb 7, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    “Our intent had nothing to do with mental illness.” That has to be the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard. “Psych Ward” has everything to do with mental illnesses! Their routine is nothing but mocking and disrespectful to anyone suffering from a mental illness. And furthermore, as a sister of a teenager that is battling schizophrenia and is getting treatment at the local mental health hospital, I find this insulting!

  10. favoritestuff4u - Feb 7, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    Gee..maybe their next routine will be making FuN of Cancer patients.. they could wear pink outfits and the front of their uniforms could say Cancer Ward! or how about HIV.. Brain Injury Ward?… Makes about as much sense as Psych ward…like No Sense! Hello people… Mental illness is no different than Cancer or Diabetis, etc. Why is it FuNnY! Wait until someone in your family comes down with it. You won’t be watchn a bunch of cheerleaders doing a psycho dance that was choreographed by their Adult Cheerleading Coach.. Now that lady needs some serious education, talking too…and FIRED!

    Lynda Schutte
    Member of NAMI California and Florida
    National Alliance For the Mentally Ill

  11. prpro47 - Feb 7, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    SHAME SHAME SHAME on the foolish parents in Waunakee, Wisconsin, who would allow their children to participate in such a profoundly ignorant performance. I hope they never suffer the pain and heartache of having a loved one on a psych ward, I can assure you they would take a different view. I’m not sure which is scarier: the ignorance about mental illness, or the fact that the ignorance is being passed on to these girls.

    And shame on Rick Chandler and MSNBC for condoning this dance. I cannot believe Mr. Chandler would judge this “good to go.” He should lose his job.

    This shouldn’t just “upset advocates for the mentally ill.” This should outrage any human being with a conscience and a heart.

  12. jsm40 - Feb 7, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    I assume no one associated with this dance team or school has ever actually been placed in a straight jacket and restraints in a padded room on a locked psychiatric unit. For the head coach of this team to state that the “intent” of the routine had nothing to do with mental illness is appalling. One look at the expression on these young girls faces in the photo is all that is needed for a public outcry- not just from mental health advocates but from anyone in this country, with compassion for those who suffer from disorders of the brain, which can result in behaviors, sometimes requiring most unpleasant stays in locked psych wards.
    Find another way to teach our young people how to be “bold.”

  13. tiger5150 - Feb 7, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    And I say to NAMI what are you going to do about it If these were cheerleaders out there dressed like step and fetch it the ACLU would have that school the parents and the educators before the supreme court the next day and this would be a world wide media event So what NOW NAMI are you going to take action maybe we need to have some example made for people to get the idea The American Civil Liberties Movement did it in the 60′s and look what came out of that but what about the mentally ill when is this stupidity ignorant display of shameful behavior going to stop or are we still in the middle ages because man we have advanced scientifically but our attitudes do not reflect the radical changes we have made for the mentally ill That’s face how many of you out there right now would see some poor soul on the street talking to him or herself and make some type of of the wall comment based on IGNORANCE “oh my god his or she is crazy” “what’s wrong with that nut ball” etc etc etc etc Great give us all the medicine that science can but and make but if our societal attitudes never change the mentally ill don’t stand a chance Where is our JFK or Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X where I have never heard the ACLU ever that I’m aware of come to the aide of the mentally ill and if they ever have is it front page news does it get all the publicity of a Rodney King beating NO of course not because their “crazy” their “nuts” their “psycho” for all you 60′s radicals now reaching baby boomer age well what are you going to do about this and for all of you out there defending whatever cause you might find “exciting” shave the whales what about us what about the mentally ill uh are we not worth saving uh

  14. deedee1960 - Feb 7, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Yeah, I get really pumped up when I’m suicidal and need to go to the psych ward. This is one of the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever encountered as a person who has a mental illness.

  15. o0oserenityo0o - Feb 7, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    My soon-to-be ex-husband is mentally ill. I have begged him to go into one of the psych wards those girls are mocking. I have cried. He has hidden his illness for years because of the stigma associated with it. The stigma these girls are perpetuating. In part because he was so afraid his illness would become known in his professional community, he did not seek appropriate medical care. He is now completely unstable, he’s left me and our small children, and he can not work. I am financially destroyed, living in a family member’s basement with our kids, and I doubt very much he will live to see his next birthday in the spring.

    Mental illness destroys people. It destroys families. My ex’s illness has a genetic component. I now get to live my life watching our children for signs of the same illness that will probably kill their father. How funny is that? Are you laughing now? Because I can assure you, I’m not.

  16. vkbogart - Feb 7, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    You know….this makes me think, “people who are this uneducated about mental illness, tend to be the conduit we need to raise awareness!” Go ahead let them make fun, and let them be loud about it, because it opens not one door, not two doors, but doors to the world. Doors that allow us to educate others about what mental illness really is….an illness!

    Mental illness is the illness that no one ever wants to talk about, and that is why there is way too much stigma. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is ok at all, but if this what it takes to raise awareness, then let it be so! We can take the bad and turn it into good. We can use this to our advantage!

  17. jkbogart - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    My email to the author of this article…….

    Honestly, I don’t want this to be a flaming retort about how insensitive you are, but seeing as how I’m just going to write from the heart, I’ll apologize ahead of time. So here goes. I’m sorry if this might offend you.
    My name is Julia, I’m 22 and I have schizophrenia. Ooooo scary word, right? You probably have already deduced that I live in “psych ward” where I lay restrained to a bed. That may even seem slightly funny to you, I mean who doesn’t enjoy a good stereotype, am I right? A good laugh at some poor schizo’s expense that probably is less human than that squirrel you ran over last June. I’m sorry to inform your humorous side that I do not fit this crazy cookie cutter creation of your mind and the minds of some glorified glee club. I am a person with a brain DISEASE. I was just remarking to my mother the other night that if I had been told I had alzheimers even, I would never face the kind of stigma that I face from the people around me (even my own family). People no longer see me as “Julia” but as “some nutjob.” I have had old friends stop speaking to me.
    Worst of all I have been attacked physically by members of my step-family. I was 4’11 and weighed 96lbs when my dad’s wife drug me out of my bed by the hair, drug me down the hallway and kicked and shoved me out the door. All because she couldn’t wrap her head around mental illness. Stigma. That’s what these girls are perpetuating. They (including the parents and faculty) are allowing themselves to become jaded to the plight of generations of patients and family members who have suffered through mental illness. The sad truth is that the mentally ill have been the butt of the joke for a very long time. Stigma like this is what leads to homelessness and suicides amoung the mentally ill. If it weren’t for my mother I would literally be dead. If she were not around or if she too had been jaded by the nonsense being pandered by these girls and the adults involved I would have no support system and no one to fight on my behalf during the worst parts of my illness.
    Do me a favor, look up the Elyn Saks Institute. Elyn Saks is a schizophrenic and a brilliant author, a professor of law, psychology AND psychiatry and is a genius, literally. Now, did you see what was written after ‘schizophrenic’ or is that all you needed to know about her? Now I’ve tested at above average levels (surprised?) on most of the standardized tests I have taken but upon trying to read her book I could not get through the first page. I wonder how you would fare, you who thinks a stripper shortage is news. (see how I just threw you into a box of idiocy by knowing one thing about you?)
    So In conclusion, people who are too ignorant to see that their dance is harmful to the mentally ill and who even make the observation about themselves that they had no idea they were even “talking about mental illness” probably shouldn’t be the people you side with and say they shouldn’t back down. Of course they should back down. Of course these adults should be showing these girls compassion and humanity. A class they, and maybe even you, have simply skipped over. This is not acceptable. Their routine and your tone should be thrown out, and you and those girls should be the first ones to think so.


    • chrisahickey - Feb 8, 2011 at 2:24 PM

      Julia – thank you. As the mom of a wonderful son with the same organic brain disorder as yours.

      Chrisa Hickey

      Oh – and if you haven’t read it yet, one of my blog’s young readers had some thoughts to share with everyone about this routine. Read Ericka’s letter here:

  18. parksjul - Feb 8, 2011 at 1:27 AM

    Mr. Chandler – I am waiting, and sincerely hoping that, after reading the comments to this post, you will understand the insensitivity, and stupidity of your response to this dance team’s routine. That the routine was not nixed prior to its performance by either school or parents is reprehensible. But then to have a commentator on such a high profile venue as this have no outrage over it, just rubs salt in very deep wounds. I applaud the courage of everyone behind the above comments who have endured far more suffering than you can ever imagine. My son died by suicide 2 years ago, a week after spending 9 months in a “psych ward”. Perhaps unless you’ve looked into the eyes of your terrified son or daughter who doesn’t understand why those they love would allow them to be hospitalized, can you possibly understand how offensive and hurtful are your remarks. I hope to hear you sincerely and publicly apologize. If not, I will be asking why msnbc is still ok with having you represent them.

  19. rlmarquez - Feb 8, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    I signed up for this cite only in order in comment on this story and a few of the comments. In advance, please note that I have not read all the comments and merely skimmed a few of them.

    However, I must ask, where are these kids living? Rural or City? Are they not exposed to the rest of our nation? Do they not have health issues within their own families? Why are they not sensitive to other’s trials and tribulations, ie: mental health issues, physical health issues, bullying, and effects humiliation can have on other young people?

    More importantly, why are their parents, teachers, and coaches not concerned. Yes, it is important to allow young people to express themselves and enjoy their school sponsored activities out of the classroom, however, it it the responsibly of their educators and those who guide them to become caring and compassionate adults to do just that.

    If the adults do not address these issues before young people end up with nationwide criticism, it reflects on the adults failure to do their job with these youth.

  20. haroldamaio - Feb 8, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    My guess is Rick wrote this as entertainment. In a perverse way it is. I am not sure why he is entertained by it. Human behavior is diificult sometimes to comprehend.

    Rick has not chimed in online. MSNBC has not. Both owe readers apology, not “mental health advocates,” all readers. I would like to see that apology.

    Harold A. Maio

  21. deblynrob - Feb 8, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    I am so done with this. I have heard that Rick has asked to interview a teen who responded to his article as posted in chrisahickey’s post above.
    Rick and MSNBC need to apologize, period. The parents, educators, and coach need to apologize for real and take the girls to a NAMI meeting. Let them meet some people who have spent time in a “psych ward”. You can be bold without being mean. Try being bold by standing up against bullying, or showing how the mentally ill can be very productive members of society.
    Mental health advocates are not too sensitive. You, Rick Chandler, are not sensitive enough. You also need to spend some time with some people who have had to spend time in a “psych ward”. I can tell you it is scary and very unpleasant. This is not about political correctness, this is about stopping the stigma that the mentally ill are something less than human. It is a disease, plain and simple. Stop the idiocy!

    • chrisahickey - Feb 8, 2011 at 2:26 PM

      Deblynrob, Rick has not reached out to anyone.

      The reporter who originally broke this story in Madison, Wisconsin has asked to interview Ericka. Shawn Dougherty, who broke the story because she found the routine stigmatizing and offensive. Kudos to Shawn, kudos to Ericka, shame on you, Rick Chandler and NBC Sports.

      • deblynrob - Feb 8, 2011 at 7:45 PM

        I didn’t realize that Chris, Thanks for correcting me

  22. Abeeliever - Feb 8, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    I am asking that NBC apologize and retract any support of this kind of behavior, perpetuating stigma that will only result in more people who fear reaching out to get the help they need and deserve is careless at best. See my blog post and call to action here: Mocking Mental Health Advocacy: Take Action Now! Thank you for your support.

    • mommylebron - Feb 8, 2011 at 6:29 PM

      Thank you for speaking up Abeeliever! WegoHealth is a wonderful organization. They are the sponsor of the support group I run on Ning for parent’s of children who have Bipolar Disorder.

  23. Stephanie Silberstein - Feb 8, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    There is a disturbing trend in this country lately, and it isn’t political correctness, as you suggest.

    It’s the idea that some groups of people are, by virtue of existing, a “joke” and that those people are “oversensitive” when they object to being treated as less than human.

    Skimming the comments here, I’ve seen many, many heartbreaking stories… and you think this cheerleading squad does not owe anyone an apology?

    Mental illness is no joke. As an advocate for suicide prevention, I find this story reprehensible.

  24. mommylebron - Feb 8, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    I am not going to rant and rave. I just do not have the energy. Do you want to know why? My 10 year daughter spent from Friday to yesterday in a “psych ward”. She was Baker Acted by her pediatric psychiatrist Friday morning. This has been the worst, longest, most stressful weekend my family has ever had. My little girl suffers, SUFFERS, and my heart breaks for her. I read about this cheer and this reporter’s hurtful glorification of it and all I can do is cry. Not just for my little girl, who will never see this, but for the children who did witness it, who were pushed further into that dark place, the one we try so hard to keep them out of, by ignorance and a pure lack of compassion. Shame on every adult who let this slip by and who continue to support it.

    • vkbogart - Feb 8, 2011 at 7:42 PM

      To Mommylebron:
      I’m so sorry to hear of the hell your family is going through. I for one, can identify and feel for you because I spent the last half of 2008 just trying to keep my daughter alive, out of the hospital as we strived to stabilize her schizophrenia. She was newly diagnosed and I was alone in it all. Other family members did not believe she was sick, but she didn’t live with them, so she was just being a rebellious teenager in their eyes. Like your daughter, my daughter suffers too. It is so exhausting, because you spend every hour of every day trying to keep them safe. You wonder if the medication will stop working, you wonder when it will start working, you wonder if this is genetic, did I do this? So you suffer as well, but you deny yourself any suffering, you do what you need to do. People tell you, you should do this, you should do that, and of course the best advice comes from those who are “absent from the situation.” (sarcasm). At any rate, your posting tugged at my heart and I want you to know that I will pray for you, your daughter, and those who care for her.

  25. cindynelsonmass - Feb 8, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    What is it that NBC and the Waunakee High School dance team and coach don’t understand? Is it that they don’t understand the challenges faced by people who live with a mental illness and how the stigma perpetuated by this stunt affects them in their daily life? Why is this so difficult to understand? Do they experience the pervasive discrimination that people living with a mental illness have to face because of the unbalanced coverage in the media due the very few individuals, most of whom often with a substance abuse issue and other issues, have committed acts of violence? Do they experience this pervasive discrimination for housing, employment and social connections? I hope not. I wish that living with a mental illness were just like living with any other illness and that people would treat you the same too. But we’re not there yet. Stunts and reporting like this not only hurt but stink big time.