'Mental' Costumes: Asda And Tesco Apologise
Supermarket chains Asda and Tesco have withdrawn Halloween costumes from sale following a barrage of criticism.
Asda's "mental patient fancy dress costume", which is designed to look like a blood-splattered straitjacket, was on sale for £20 through the supermarket's clothing arm George.
Many people took to Twitter to express their disgust at the description, including former footballer Stan Collymore - who has suffered well-documented problems with depression.
He wrote: "Dear ASDA, nice stereotype of "Mental patients". Something you'd expect from the ###. A f****** joke".
"Do you actually realise how many people are hanging themselves because of being frightened of the stigma? Wording is CLEAR. MENTAL PATIENT."
Charity Rethink Mental Illness posted on its Twitter account: "Hi @Asda please explain: 'Everyone will be running away from you in fear in this mental patient fancy dress'."
Former spin doctor Alastair Campbell also commented on the item on the social media website, writing: "Look what Asda's selling... what possesses these people?"
And MP Mike Thornton tweeted: "This is unbelievable!!"
Asda was quick to react to the criticism by confirming the Halloween costume had been withdrawn from sale.
The chain posted on its own Twitter account: "We're deeply sorry one of our fancy dress costumes has upset people. This was an unacceptable error - the product was withdrawn immediately."
Asda added: "We'd like to offer our sincere apologies for the offence it's caused and will be making a sizeable donation to @MindCharity."
Meanwhile, Tesco has also removed a costume called "Psycho Ward" from its shelves. It was described on the website as an orange jumpsuit with the word "committed" printed on the back.
A spokesperson said it was a response to feedback from customers and apologised for any offence caused.
The costumes were withdrawn as a new survey suggests more than 30,000 people with mental health problems die every year from preventable illnesses.
People with mental health problems are three times more likely to develop diabetes and twice as likely to die from heart disease, according to the new report from Rethink Mental Illness.
The report says mental health sufferers have higher rates of illness through side effects from medication, smoking and a lack of basic health checks.
They also make up 40% of the total smoking population but are less likely to receive support to quit.