View Full Version : Need some big guns to roll out....
07-17-2003, 05:14 PM
Y'all something really disturbing is happening in Dallas. A local DJ on the afternoon show (Russ Martin 105.3), has gotten into the habit of calling the day room of an adult psychiatric hospital and talking to whomever happens to answer. These people that answers are patients, and this guy questions them about why they're in the hospital, what meds they take, etc...just so he can make fun of them!
This disturbs me on many levels, not the least of which is that 2 of my kids have just been diagnosed as having Bipolar Disorder, and I feel that this is a personal attack on them, even if it's in an indirect way. You attack one of us, you attack us all, IMO. Many parents who are involved in some of the local chapters of support groups are extremely upset about this, and the radio station program manager is taking a very cavalier and even antagonistic approach to the whole thing. And he's allowed the DJ to take the protests and use them as part of the "gag." This is just so wrong!
The local support groups are already in motion, with email campaigns, etc, so I don't need any advice there. They are far more knowledgable than I, so they've got that covered. What I'm asking for here is for someone to jog my memory and remind me if there are any celebrities you can think of who have publically championed mental health. Maybe we can get them to help our cause here.
If any of you are interested in joining our campaign, God bless you. I can get some better info for you and the names of some sponsors who can be emailed and informed of our extreme unhappiness with one of their clients. We're trying to take the high ground and not resort to name calling and dirty pool the way the station wants to be, and everything is trying to be done in an orderly fashion so we can be heard. I'll post more later.
Thanks for "listening!"
This is terrible. Don't even get me started on those idiotic "radio personalities" -- they are such lowlives. Too bad the station is being so irresponsible to the community. Good luck to you and the other parent advocates who are speaking out.
Someone who has been involved in the field of mental health is Tipper Gore. I'm not sure, but I think she may have written a book on the subject? Here's some information I found with a very preliminary web search:
Tipper Gore has long been involved in issues related to mental health, education, and homelessness. In 1990, she founded Tennessee Voices for Children, a coalition to promote the development of services for children and youth with serious behavioral, emotional, substance use, and other mental health problems. As Mental Health Policy Advisor to President Clinton, Mrs. Gore was committed to eradicating the stigma associated with mental illness and educating Americans about the need for quality, affordable mental health care.
07-17-2003, 05:45 PM
Helene, thank you! That's precisely what I was looking for!
07-17-2003, 05:48 PM
ALL shock jocks should be removed from the air...Isn't this an invasion of privacy? I mean, aren't there privacy laws to protect these individuals? You can't go into a hospital and take pictures and publicize them without written permission from legal guardian, wouldn't this be the same thing? I would contact the Attorney General in your State and see if you can't do something about this.
And this just as I was about to ask how to do a poll because I wanted to ask who your favorite Talk Radio Personality IS (If you have one)..but that can wait..This is an important issue and you need to do something about it. :(
PS...Of course the station manager won't listen. So what do you do next? Contact the sponsors on the show and protest and have everyyone you know call and protest...Sponsors do not want to be involved in anything that is going to harm their image.
07-17-2003, 05:57 PM
Originally posted by jmarie
Contact the sponsors on the show and protest and have everyyone you know call and protest...Sponsors do not want to be involved in anything that is going to harm their image.
I agree with jmarie. Listeners aren't the customers of the radio station, the advertisers are. Try and get the businesses that run a lot of ads on this and the other radio group stations (most stations are owned by a parent company that operates several stations) involved.
07-17-2003, 06:06 PM
This is horrible!!! I have a family member who has spent some time on psych wards, and I find this very disturbing. I am surprised they are able to do this though. Many psych hospitals have pretty strict controls on who can visit/call in. The system I am familiar with actually has all phones ring into the nurse's station, and you can't talk to anyone (or even get confirmation that they are a patient) without a patient access code. So maybe the hospital could do something to stop this.
Kitty Dukakis also recently came out with the information that she has undergone ECT. I'm sure I can think of some others, I have a lot of info about mental illness. I'll be back with some more ideas later.
editing to add some links with more information on well-known people battling mental illness:
Rosalynn Carter (http://www.cartercenter.org/healthprograms/showdoc.asp?programID=6&submenu=healthprograms)
Rosie O'Donnell (http://my.webmd.com/content/article/34/1728_86966) and others
Tom Johnson, Barbara Bush, Mariel Hemingway, Mariette Hartley, Marie Osmond, Mike Wallace, Art Buchwald all on a recent Larry King Live (http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0305/28/lkl.00.html)
.Maurice Benard (http://www.nmha.org/newsroom/system/news.vw.cfm?do=vw&rid=480) (I've never heard of him, but apparently he was/is on General Hospital?)
Here is a link to the story about Kitty Dukakis and Tom Johnson on CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/06/20/sunday/main559635.shtml)
And here is a link to NAMI (http://www.nami.org/) (follow the links to stigmabusters)
Coming back one more time, because the more I think about this the more it is bothering me that the hospital is letting this go on. Even if the phones do ring directly into the dayroom, there should be hospital staff around that is aware of what is going on, and they should be stopping it. It really seems to me that one of the first lines of attack should be to convince the hospital that their patients are entitled to dignity and privacy, and to better care than it appears they may be getting if this kind of thing is allowed to go on. The fact that the radio station (and obviously some listeners) think this is funny is very disturbing and these kinds of attituds must be changed, but for the sake of our loved ones who suffer from mental illnesses, I wonder if it isn't more important to attack such insensitivity/inattention on the part of their caregivers first, before setting out to change the attitudes of people who, although hurtful, don't have any direct and immediate impact on their care
07-17-2003, 07:32 PM
This is so horrible.
Questions that beg to be asked....Where is the hospital staff when all this is going on? What has the CEO, Medical Director and Board of Directors Chairperson of the Hosp done to remedy the abuse of their patients?
Rosie O'Donnell has been very outspoken about her long battle with depression. I would also suggest you contact The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
07-17-2003, 08:54 PM
That is offensive on so many counts, I wouldn't know where to begin. (And I'm with you, Helene, about the so-called "personalities". They're all exactly the same no matter where you go; ignorant and crass and perhaps too stupid even to be mean spirited.)
One thing I'll add here -as jmarie suggested- is that if they are asking people's names and what meds they're on, they may well be in violation of the law. Someone in healthcare/government may be able to elaborate, but there is very recent legislation regarding privacy and medicine. It is very specific about what may be discussed/shared with whom regarding a patient and his or her condition and treatment. To such a degree that (I'm serious) I have to sign on my dog's behalf when I buy her meds from a human pharmacy. I agree with jmarie: a call to your state attorney general's office might be in order.
I'm sorry you're suffering such needless grief and stress, and I'm sorry that our society calls that "entertainment". :(
07-17-2003, 09:18 PM
The station is now trying to say that it was all staged and that no patient was ever spoken to. If that were the case, why didn't that say that in the first place, instead of making such a deal out of it? I suspect that by now, the hospital staff has been alerted and that this can no longer go on.
Our spokesperson is absolutely in touch with NAMI and many other agencies and groups that I have no clue about. Many, many people are getting involved. Thanks for all the other suggestions for people in the public eye who have come forth with their own battles with depression and other mental illnesses.
One point that has been brought forth from the offending side is the First Amendment and the station's rights. It's this that keeps Howard Stern on the air. Here's what the FCC website states:
Criticism, Ridicule, and Humor Concerning Individuals, Groups, and Institutions. The First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech protects programming that stereotypes or otherwise offends people with regard to their religion, race, national background, gender, or other characteristics. It also protects broadcasts that criticize or ridicule established customs and institutions, including the government and its officials. If there is to be genuine free speech, people must be free to say things that the majority may abhor, not only things that the majority finds tolerable or congenial.
HOWEVER...it goes on to say:
Retention of Material Broadcast. We generally do not require stations to keep the material they broadcast. However, there are limited exceptions to this policy for personal attacks and political editorials.
Personal Attacks. Personal attacks occur when, during the presentation of views on a controversial issue of public importance, someone attacks the honesty, character, integrity, or like personal qualities of an identified person or group. No more than a week after a personal attack, the station must transmit the following three things to the person or group attacked: (1) notification of the date, time, and identification of the broadcast; (2) a tape, script or accurate summary of the attack; and (3) an offer of a reasonable opportunity to respond on the air.
More as I get more info...
07-17-2003, 09:20 PM
That is so offensive!!
To me, the obvious solution is to attack the problem from the other side. Talk with the administrator of the hospital. Find out why THEY aren't doing anything to stop it. If there is some reason it wouldn't be practical to disconnect that phone or change the number and keep it unlisted, perhaps they could recruit a body of volunteers to man the dayroom and answer the phone when it rings. If the volunteers have a bland script to use to answer the phone and respond to the calls, it seems like it wouldn't take long before the gag just wasn't any fun anymore. Then the volunteers could be employed at other, more helpful tasks. . .
Also, I'm sure the hospital employs social workers and attorneys who know all the ins and outs of the privacy laws. If this has been happening long enough to get the kind of publicity you're describing, I simply can't fathom why the hospital ITSELF hasn't made it stop. Baffling!
07-17-2003, 09:28 PM
If they "lied" about this broadcast, then how many others did they "lie" about? I would hit them from this angle, also. Ruin their credibility with those listeners who get a kick out of their antics. Now they are talking from both sides of their mouths! I would really let them have it. That'll teach 'em!
Keep up the good work...and whatever they say, continue your attack! they REALLY went over the line on this one!
07-17-2003, 09:40 PM
The fact (presuming it's a fact) that it was staged does not change my feeling that "I'm sorry our society calls that 'entertainment'." Is it so much better to say "We were mocking the mentally ill by using actors" than to say "We were mocking the mentally ill by using the mentally ill"? I still don't get it.
That said, I have to say that the I do support the first ammendment, and the FCC's statement sounds right to me. I do not believe the "personalities" or "shock jocks" should be removed from the air, but I do think it would be great if we could raise the bar, so to speak, on what we call humor, rendering them irrelevant.
07-17-2003, 09:51 PM
This is disgusting.
Someone had mentioned earlier about privacy rules...generally if someone is disclosing information about their own situation, privacy does not apply.
I agree with what the other posters have said about contacting the hospital, but perhaps most importantly, the advertisers.
07-17-2003, 09:53 PM
I ran this by a friend of mine who is a therapist in a pyschiatric ward, and she said they generally have pretty strict rules about who can talk to paitients. You can't just call and talk to a patient. They don't let patients answer phones. She thinks this was staged.
Still, it's pretty takcy that they would even stage something like this.
I'd still contact the hospital administration or their legal counsel so they can make sure the events did not happen (or that appropriate actions are taken if they did) and that thay make sure their name is not used in staging fictitious events that show such lack of sensitivity, respect and judgment.
The say it was staged to make it seem less offensive? I think that is sad. Perhaps no real people were used, but staging requires forethought, planning and intent (possibly even clearance through a producer, station manager or the legal dept). It means this wasn't done on a whim, but deliberately because they thought it was something worth doing. It shows an even greater lack of judgment.
07-18-2003, 07:34 AM
Staged or not, that's disgusting. As someone who has suffered from various forms of mental illness over the years, and as one who has too many relatives with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, I am really sickened by this. I would personally love to go kick these guys in the n*ts. They should have to spend time in sensitivity training and doing community service, maybe in a psych hospital, but a good kick in the privates would be a satisfying start.
07-18-2003, 08:11 AM
I agree with everything that has been said so far. I just wanted to say, as someone who comes from a family with a history of mental illness, that even "staged" jokes like this are harmful. The negative stigma against mental illness is so strong that it prevents too many people from seeking out the treatment they need. Shamelessly being so crude and ignorant is only furthering that negative stigma.
07-18-2003, 05:27 PM
:mad: :mad: This is terrible.:mad: :mad: Have they no standards?
07-18-2003, 07:03 PM
As a psychiatric nurse I am outraged and saddened by this...the hospital NEEDS to be contacted...major, major confidentiality can be breached here...everytime I think we've made progress in this Country to erase the stigma of mental illness, I find we're going backwards...
Even if this was staged...and I doubt it...the concept stinks...what idiots!
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