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.
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.
Also, please call this company to action on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to stop promoting the stigma of mental illness.
In addition, please let retailers who carry this product they are implicit promoting the stigma as well.
Letter sent when petition signed: