Posted in Did you know?, Stigma Talks

Dear Amazon,

Thanks to this brave teen who spoke out from Calagary reported by CBC News

Dear Amazon, (their response follows)

I realize you are running a business and you respect freedom of speech. I get that.  You probably get plenty of hate mail about certain books people feel offended that is even in print…but that IS what we mean by freedom of speech.  But I wonder if Amazon could use some discretion, scrutinize what can damage their reputation. After all, Amazon is known worldwide, right?

screen shot - Amazon
screen shot – Amazon

I am not only offended but shocked that Amazon allows the sale of T-Shirts that scoff at mental illness. Oh, there are several and you know as well as me, many of these t-shirts are geared to teens. Teens who are vulnerable and many may be suffering with mental health issues and afraid to get help.  Many people are afraid to be stigmatized or not taken seriously.  Well, think again, dearest Amazon, think again.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto “… suicide accounts for 24 percent of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16 percent among 16-44 year olds. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24.8 Seventy-three percent of hospital admissions for attempted suicide are for people between the ages of 15 and 44.”  

I don’t care of some people say, “Hey! At least it’s a shocking way to get a message across.”  Really? And what message might that be?  Will someone suffering in silence with depression with suicidal ideation, find that life changing?   We sometimes joke around about subjects that makes us feel uncomfortable…okay, I get that.  But when a person makes a joke, hopefully with more awareness campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk this month, misconceptions will be changed.  

“A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.

Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.

Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.

Mental illnesses can be treated effectively. “

*Fast Facts, Canadian Mental Health association

People will learn that Mental Health + Physical Health = Overall Health and that one is equally important as the other.  The awareness is to remove that stigma and especially to inform people that there is help…treatment and yep, even recovery.   Too many people fear they are given a death sentence if they are diagnosed with a mental health condition…there is recovery in so many cases. Would that not encourage someone to finally get help?

But bad jokes, generalizations and misinformation sets us back to times people equated mental illness to a person wearing a straight jacket…no wonder one did not seek help.

So, dearest Amazon, would you think again about selling these T-shirts on your website?

Cheryl-Lynn Roberts

An hour later I am pleased to share this email I  received this from Amazon:

Amazon
Your Account Amazon.ca
Message From Customer Service
Hello from Amazon.ca. 

I completely understand your concern in this regard. 

Please accept our sincere apologies for this listing on our website. 

Customer feedback like yours really helps us continue to improve our store and provide better service to our customers 

This being the reason, I’ve forwarded the information regarding this listing to the appropriate people internally to investigate further and to take appropriate actions to remove “Suicide T-shirts” from our website as soon as possible. 

We realize this incident reflects negatively upon Amazon.ca and the feedback you’ve provided has been passed on to the relevant people. 

We do want to make sure that our site is safe and convenient for all buyers, and for that reason there are rules governing the listing of certain items. 

Since, I’ve forwarded this to the appropriate department I can assure you that soon we will remove this item from our website. 

In addition to a wide selection of items, one of our aims at Amazon.ca is to provide a convenient and efficient service; in this case, we have not met that standard, please accept my sincere apologies. 

I’m very sorry about all of this. I hope you’ll consider this an isolated incident and give us another chance in the future. 

Thanks for your patience and understanding. Thanks for giving us time to find the best solution.

We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.
Best regards,
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Author:

A little bit about moi: I am a mom, a nana, a sister, a woman, a friend, a human being…a youth counsellor, Family Life Educator. I have been working in the helping profession for over 25 years and volunteered in various capacities from youths to seniors. Tournesol is my nom de plume for haiku and other Japanese form poetry here at Tournesoldansunjardin http://cheryllynnroberts.wordpress.com I hope you enjoy reading through my daily waka. I also have another blog "Stop the Stigma" where I may stand on my soapbox now and then and hope it will become a place to drop in and share or comment on issues important to you. In that vein this could be a great way to learn from each other. http://stigmahursteveryone.wordpress.com Namaste!

11 thoughts on “Dear Amazon,

  1. Hello Cheryl-Lynn, today I posted my thoughts about this shirt. It is a painfully offensive shirt for all of us who have suffered the loss of a loved one in this manner. I do hope all of your efforts and those of others will help get this shirt removed from the public eye. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  2. My husband committed suicide a little over six-years-ago, leaving not only me but his two young sons behind. He had made a lot of bad choices in his life and they were starting to come to light. Since his death, I have had three professionals tell me that they think he was bipolar based on what I told them about him. I didn’t seek this information, they offered their educated thoughts while talking to me. Thanks for posting about this horrible shirt. I can’t even imagine someone seeing humor in it.

    Like

    1. I am so sorry for your loss, Johanna Lynn, I cannot imagine your pain and so many questions you and your sons must have as well. Thank you for taking the time to share and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes! Well done! Thank you for taking the time to write to Amazon and show them the error of their ways. And kudos to Amazon Canada for responding so swiftly!

    Like

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