Here’s my letter:
I’m writing to you about an upcoming episode of iCarly called “I Lost My Mind”. It’s the episode in which Sam checks herself into a mental hospital for kissing a boy she doesn’t like and the other kids try and break her free from it.
I have 3 young boys who watch this show. As a family, we have always enjoyed it. My oldest, at 10 years old, has a mental illness. He has had psychotic episodes where he sees monsters and depressive episodes where he wants to kill himself. The likelihood of my son being admitted into a mental hospital is extremely high in the coming years ahead.
This upcoming episode of iCarly will have a negative affect on my son and all children who live with mental illness. First by mocking the institution which may one day save his life, next by making a joke out of my son’s mental illness and finally for exposing him to society’s negative view of mental illness. If he relates a mental hospital to something that is to be made fun of, that comes with a negative stigma that even iCarly pokes fun at, he will be more resistant to the vital care he may need someday to save his life. As parents, we are trying our best to teach him while he’s young that he has value and that his illness does not make him a bad person, but your programming tears apart all we are working towards.
You may think... “Well don’t have your son watch iCarly”. I wish it was that simple. Many of his classmates watch this show. So even if my son doesn’t see the episode, his peers will and this will continue the negative stigma that he already fights against everyday.
Please reconsider airing this episode and be sensitive to the children that suffer everyday with mental illness. Our kids need love and support, not mockery.