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Provocative Ransom Notes on childhood mental illness

Provocative Ransom Notes on childhood mental illness


The NYU Child Study Center just launched a new campaign called “Ransom Notes” to draw attention to childhood psychiatric disorder. This in-your-face approach has created a lot of controversy.
The Ransom Notes campaign is designed as a provocative wake up to create awareness and spark dialogue about the disorders. Twelve million American children and adolescents face daily battles with psychiatric disorders. Untreated, these children are at risk for academic failure, school dropout, substance abuse, suicide, unemployment, and imprisonment according to the NYU Child Study Center.
“Ransom Notes,” the Child Study Center’s most extensive public awareness campaign in its history, was produced pro bono by BBDO. Its public service ads appear in kiosks and bulletin spaces across New York City. The campaign features scrawled and typed communiqués as well as simulations of classic ransom notes, composed of words clipped from a newspaper.

Update 20/12: Ransom-Note Ads About Children’s Health Are Canceled.
The Child Study Center at New York University said on Wednesday that it would halt an advertising campaign aimed at raising awareness of children’s mental and neurological disorders after the effort drew a strongly negative reaction.
Read the story here.

NYU Child Study Center: “The idea behind the “Ransom Notes” is that, all too often, untreated psychiatric disorders are holding our children hostage. These disorders rob children of the ability to learn, make and keep friends and enjoy life.
But many people in a child’s life, such as family members, professionals, friends and other caring adults, have a chance to intervene and help a child who is suffering needlessly.”

In addition to depression, there are ominous threats concerning autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Asperger’s syndrome and bulimia. The campaign’s theme is that 12 million children “are held hostage by a psychiatric disorder.”

“Children’s mental disorders are truly the last great public health problem that has been left unaddressed,” said Dr. Koplewicz, founder and director of the Child Study Center, “It’s like with AIDS. Everyone needs to be concerned and informed.”
In some quarters, however, the campaign has raised a lot of controversy. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, a national grass-roots organization of children and adults, is circulating a petition asking the Child Study Center to end the campaign.
Kristina Chew, founder of Autism Vox, which has a link to the petition, says that “the reaction has been mostly outrage from parents of special-needs children, autistic adults, teachers, disability rights advocates and mental health professionals.”

A lot of blogs have written the last days about the campaign, mostly negative. A list of links to articles can be found here.

Thanks for sending Arthur.








NYU Child Study Center

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