Mon, Jun 8, 2015, 11:52 AM | Email Sent To Media
I’m advocating to break the stigma of having a mental illness. In May I started #TheReal5150 campaign prompted by the stigma-promoting brand, 51 Fifty Energy Drink.
In 2010, I triggered with PTSD and Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures. I was challenged by severe cognitive impairment, daily seizures, chronic pain, and 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.
This is a California company that simply does not understand how it’s promoting stigma to the one in four people who are challenged with a brain illness. Furthermore, they support autism awareness and associate the recognized icon of puzzle pieces with their brand name right on the can.
While the effort to help children with autism is noble, it is detracted by associating the image with the slang definition to California’s police code 5150.
The 51 Fifty Energy Drink promotes its consumers as risk-takers and anyone who dares to chase their dreams despite naysayers. The founder, Carlos Vieria, named the company after being labeled “crazy” by friends by choosing high-risk behaviors in race car driving. The name of this product is akin to calling it “Retarded: Get Your Stupid On,” or “Catch Cancer: Live Like There’s No Tomorrow.”
Having a mental illness is not a choice. Being a badass is a choice.
I’ve continued my campaign in asking the company to do better with their brand and marketing, and to stop promoting mental illness stigma by launching a petition on Change.org (https://www.change.org/p/51-fifty-energy-drink-51-fifty-energy-drink-stop-promoting-mental-illness-stigma) and at Buycott.com (http://www.buycott.com/campaign/1205/boycott-51fifty-energy-drink-promotes-mental-illness-stigma)
The campaigns were created this weekend. Already the campaign on Buycott.com has 57 supporters.
51 Fifty Energy Drink is carried by all California Fastrip locations, Fresh and Easy stores, and is growing their reach into the Arizona market. They are also named Sonoma Raceway’s official energy drink (http://www.racesonoma.com/media/news/fifty-named-official-energy-drink-sonoma-raceway.html).
I’m seeking support in letting others know about this company and the petitions in place. Please help me in gaining support of these campaigns to help break the stigma of a brain illness.