Child mental-health ads too hot to handle

Controversy seems inevitable when you create ransom-note- style ads beginning with phrases like, “We have taken your son.” But apparently it’s the message, not the approach, that has put a quick end to a new poster campaign for the Child Study Center. The ads, which you can see at Osocio, were created pro bono by BBDO to raise awareness of psychiatric disorders like depression, autism, ADHD and OCD. The writing is terse and visceral. “We have your daughter,” one poster says. “We are forcing her to throw up after every meal she eats.” But not all disorders are as clear-cut as bulimia. Advocates for children with autism felt the campaign perpetuated negative stereotypes with phrases like, “He will no longer be able to care for himself or interact socially as long as he lives.” While it’s obvious the campaign was intended to spark controversy, Child Study Center founder Dr. Harold S. Koplwicz raises a valid point when he says, “It’s the first time that the issue of children’s mental health has gotten national attention without being precipitated by a shooting at a high school or college.”

—Posted by David Griner

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