Change.org Petition to 51 Fifty Energy Drink: Stop Promoting Mental Illness Stigma

My name is Eve Hinson.

One in four have a brain illness . One in 17 experience a serious brain illness. I am that one.

In 2010, I triggered with PTSD and Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures. I lost six-years of memory, day-to-day tracking of time, was challenged by severe cognitive impairment, experienced daily seizures and chronic struck-by-lightening pain. The first years after the trigger, I needed help with mobility and basic self-care. After five years, I’m in a better state of recovery, but every single day I battle the stigma of having a mental illness.

This April, I spotted a “51 Fifty Energy Drink” delivery van in my neighborhood and felt deeply disrespected and mocked. The slogan “Live the Madness” added greater insult.

5150 is California’s police code for those who are a danger to themselves or to others during a time of severe crisis. When folks dial 911 for a cardiac emergency an ambulance arrives. When folks, like me, are in a crisis with a brain illness and need emergency help, a 911 operator dispatches a police officer.

Imagine being ill and needing hospitalization and the first responder is someone trained to catch criminals with a hand on their gun? So often these officers haven’t had behavioral training. Yet, they’re expected to be able to assess and declare a person needing emergency services under the code 5150.   The mental health system is in a dire state and often times services aren’t available even after help has been requested.

The 51 Fifty Energy Drink description on Facebook states: Many people are afraid to take risks. That 51 Fifty Energy Drink celebrates the risk-takers, and anyone else who dares to chase their dreams despite the naysayers.

Then the company asks: Are you 51FIFTY? It states on the company’s LinkedIn page their name was chosen because the founder, Carlos Vieira, was often called “crazy” due to risk-taking choices and behavior.

Having a mental illness is not a choice. Being a badass is a choice.

The name of this energy drink is akin to calling it “Retarded: Get your Stupid On,” “Catch Cancer: Live Like There’s No Tomorrow,” or “HIV+: All Risk, No Protection.”  It’s incredibly insensitive, insulting and promotes stigma. Stigma kills.

Statistics show that 90% of folks who die by suicide have an undiagnosed and untreated brain illness. Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide. Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. One in five youth aged 13–18 experiences a severe mental disorder. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.

Please join me in asking this company to stop promoting stigma with their name name and slogan.

51 Fifty Energy Drink mocks those who are #TheReal5150. It ignores the insult it slaps on one in four people to promote “Live The Madness” as a choice. It’s not a choice and the stigma hurts. It hurts me. It hurts our children. It hurts our families and communities.

The company can promote being a badass without insulting people who are challenged with a brain illness. They can and need to do better with their name and marketing.

Sincerely,

Eve Hinson

#TheReal5150

Also, please call this company to action on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to stop promoting the stigma of mental illness.

Twitter: @51FiftyEnergy

Facebook: facebook.com/51FiftyEnergy

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/51-fifty-energy-drink

In addition, please let retailers who carry this product they are implicit promoting the stigma as well.

Fresh and Easy: Twitter, Facebook

 Fastrip: Contact Us page

Letter sent when petition signed: 

51 Fifty Energy Drink Carlos Vieira

Stop promoting mental illness stigma with your 51 Fifty Energy Drink name and slogan.

51 Fifty Energy Drink mocks those who are #TheReal5150. It ignores the insult it slaps on one in four people to promote “Live The Madness” as a choice.

Having a mental illness is not a choice. Being a badass is a choice.

The name of this energy drink is akin to calling it “Retarded: Get your Stupid On,” “Catch Cancer: Live Like There’s No Tomorrow,” or “HIV+: All Risk, No Protection.” It’s incredibly insensitive, insulting and promotes stigma. Stigma kills.

Statistics show that 90% of folks who die by suicide have an undiagnosed and untreated brain illness. Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide. Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. One in five youth aged 13–18 experiences a severe mental disorder. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.

Don’t stop being a badass, but do better with your name and marketing.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. SonniQ says:

    I came back to read more today. I had never heard the term 51fifty and if I had seen the drink in a store I would not have known it meant anything. Now I do. The drink company who originated this? How crass! Careless. Insensitive. Stupid and every others expletive I could write. I am aware, though, of police being ddlispatched when calls come in when concerning a person with mental illness and I know of the times parents have called when usually their son is having an episode and can’t get him to calm down and they kill him. They call for help and they shoot him!!! Police don’t have training. Last year I read an article – I think it was about a unit in San Francisco. They trained police how to handle these calls. They wore regular clothing and were successful at talking them down and getting them help and it made a huge difference. I remember thinking, “If only this were expanded nationwide there would be less people sitting in solitary confinement in prison.” – for their own protection they say. The suicide rate is so high in prison. When they try – they cut themselves – they sew them up and then double their time in solitary. Now, because the men are really damaged they can never let out because they will try harder to succeed in killing themselves – and other people. The make a problem many times worse and punish them more. As you already know – they shouldn’t be there in the first place. Their only crime? Needing help.

    Liked by 1 person

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