See Change Ireland’s National Stigma Reduction Programme for mental health, is calling on Irish broadcasters to ban the Ava Max ‘Sweet but Psycho’ song as it is stigmatising for individuals living with mental illness in Ireland.
This song misrepresents psychotic illnesses and makes clear links between violence and mental illness. This actively impacts people throughout the country who live with mental health difficulties.
See Change Ambassador Rick Rossiter who lives with mental health difficulties said; “Ignorance is the art of the misinformed. People with a mental health condition are continuously fighting the demeaning language and poor imagery ingrained in public consciousness because of everyday things like this song. It is the ugliness of stigma that allows fear and hatred to spread, but it is the ignorance of others that keeps it spreading.”
Fellow See Change Ambassador Sínead Keating voiced her concerns over the song by saying “It might not seem like a big deal, but using words like ‘psycho’ does normalise the idea that people with mental illnesses are dangerous. We’re no more dangerous than anyone else. The fact that there are still words like this being used so frequently makes me worry when I need to disclose my illness to someone. Are they going to think there’s something wrong with me as a person?”
Director of See Change John Saunders has commented on the track stating “The fact that this is a piece of popular music is no excuse for the insensitive and discriminatory way the song and video portrays the issue of mental illness. The artist has fallen into the trap of promoting many misleading stereotypes of people with mental health difficulties which only serve to increase the alienation and prejudice experienced every day by one in four of us.”
He concluded by saying: “We are calling on music producers to consider carefully the negative effect these types of songs are having on young people. We are also calling on music broadcasters to think again when they compile their playlists and not to include this offensive song.”