Mental Illness Stigma is Not Art or Entertainment

This show really bothers me. Please watch and listen to this, especially the last two songs and tell me if it bothers you. Maybe it is just me. Maybe I am just very sensitive about these things… about mental illness stigma. Am I too sensitive?

This is a High School Show Choir where I live. I talked to the Principal and the Show Choir Director and they said they would change this and they did not.

I am bothered that stigmatizing mental illness words are being used (sung) today in music, art and entertainment. We do not sing songs about being gay and call it art or entertainment. We do not sing songs about having cancer and call it art or entertainment. We do not sing songs about AIDS and call it art or entertainment. I do not understand why this is still acceptable.

Someone please help me understand how this is art or entertaining. Does it bother anyone else or is it just me? Why is it still being sung about? They sing about electric shock and going cuckoo in the last song. I can’t believe it.

I feel like I want to make educational pamphlets on mental illness, suicide, electroconvulsive therapy and mental illness stigma and pass them out at the show that they will be at. They will perform at the same shows as my daughter and I feel like I need to educate the public. If they are going to sing about it, then I am going to educate.

Please tell me the truth. I need to know if I am making too much about this. I talked to the Principal and the Director about this after I first saw this show and they said they would remove the word cuckoo and other words, but they didn’t. They only thing they changed is they do not move their index finger around their ear to symbolize going “cuckoo” anymore. Otherwise, nothing is changed.

Please tell me what you think. Please help me with this. I feel this is  not acceptable to sing  using stigmatizing words about mental illness, but I need to get other people’s opinions.

I want to know if it is just me…

or is this mental illness stigma at its finest…

I mean it’s worst.

Please let me know what you think,

and I want complete honesty. You do not have to agree with me. I truly am trying to get honest truthful feedback.

I need it before I act more on this. Please give me any ideas you have for me.

Maybe I am over-reacting.

Maybe all I will do is walk out before their performance, because for some reason it truly bothers me. They perform at the same shows as my daughter.

Stigma does hurt…

Image result for stigmatizing words

Image result for stigmatizing words

Image result for stigmatizing words

Thank you in advance for your help.

Love and hugs, Sue

Thank you for watching and please leave me a comment or an email.

Thank you very much.

Have a very happy, healthy and fabulous day.

thank you 2

Copyright © By Susan Walz and – All written content and personal artwork is © and Susan Walz. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner/artist is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Loud Bipolar Whispers and/or Susan Walz with appropriate and specific directions to the original content. (with the exception of the Onalaska Show Choir video, music, songs, singing and choreography)



  1. If nothing else it’s in extremely poor taste. I googled some of the lyrics of the last song, and it’s Cuckoo by Adam Lambert. The lyrics certainly perpetuate stereotypes about mental illness, and are really not in keeping with hot pink outfits and jazz hands. If the choir director thinks it’s appropriate to devote 20 minutes of show choir extravaganza to the theme of crazy, he/she really needs to take a step back and devote some serious thought as to the message this conveys. Good on you for calling the school out on this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have no problem with any of these songs- I actually have performed a few of them myself. They are all pretty mainstream and popular- and for a reason. I think one thing to remember is that the artists who wrote these pieces tend to have written them just as honestly as we do with our blog posts….They are just written expressions (like a poem, a blog…) just set to music. Musicians and lyricists are famous for using their pain to create their music and they consider it an honor to have them performed so people can relate to their lyrics. It’s a way to raise awareness and to reach out and let people know they aren’t alone. Music isn’t just written for ‘entertainment’…these artists have messages to get across…- Music is to make you feel. Performing the art is to bring out emotion that the song and lyrics show. These young people are extremely talented and are honoring the music beautifully. It isn’t mocking at all. Music is SUCH a help to the mentally ill. I think it also should be noted that song words like “Crazy” and “Cuckoo” aren’t meant to be literal in this day in age. (P.S. A lot of these songs are about feelings that being in love invokes…they aren’t referring to mental illness… they’re referring to being so caught up in love that they ‘lose their mind’ or are ‘crazy in love’ because that is all they can think about…) I hope this helps! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments. I understand what the music is saying and I know the songs and even love Adam Lambert but the words are stigmatizing and people need to be educated by word choice. We are trying to reduce mental illness stigma and this is one way I need to do it by educating others. I’m a mental illness advocate and it is time to stop by improving word choice. I’m only bothered mostly by them singing the last song. If you listen to the real song it says more. It talks about electroshock and I’ve had hundreds of them to save my life. We don’t sing songs about breast removal and chemotherapy etc… It wouldn’t be accepted and sang and danced about. Just saying and trying to educate. I appreciate your comments very much. They are helpful. Thank you and I understand what you are saying but I still must educate and try to save lives.


      1. I’m a mental illness advocate as well- I write candidly on the topic. One thing I firmly believe in when it comes to words is context and intent.
        When someone is singing (or talking about) how they feel- and describing an emotion- the person who wrote it was expressing a feeling, an experience.
        If the intent is to insult or degrade by saying ‘you are ___’ than that’s different.
        Keep educating. Your emotions matter. As someone who suffers from mental illness- I get how a things can grate on nerves or offend. As a former performer and writer- I just feel if we start policing words, sayings and expression- especially ones that in the English language can have multiple meanings… than we miss the chance to educate and could miss out on some great works of art.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve just researched a lot how words stigmatize and interfere with many people getting treatment. Think about how people no longer use the word retard or refer to someone with AIDs negatively. We must work on mental illness too and cannot let it go. I’m doing this for others and wanting to educate the young people going to be exposed by this. Adam Lambert does say you’ve gone cuckoo or we’ve all gone cuckoo and words like that to refer to partying. Mental illness is not a wild party. I had ECTs and they saved my life as well. I’m sorry. I still do not see it as art and singing about breast surgery and chemotherapy as a party would not be acceptable and is not art neither should mental illnesss. I had many ECTs and people still laugh about it. Education needs to be done even if it is through music. Sing about mental illnesss and educate about it. Some songs are great. It’s a mad world is great and I love that song as it is art and is written well and speaks about how some people feel. Gone cuckoo is referring to partying too much and that is not what mental illness is. We must educate. This is not just my feelings but is about others research as well…. Not just a feeling or my feelings but about saving lives through education and research. Sorry so opinionated but I truly appreciate your feedback as it helps me a lot and made me think. Thank you. Hugs, Sue


  3. I don’t really know the songs but I’ve bipolar. My village knows I have it too. But I have a stigma about it myself. I wish I didn’t have it. So if others make fun of it that’s ok with me. Society has improved in general.

    Liked by 1 person

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