I would like to make the public aware of an offensive sign located on the front of an abandoned bar on Forest Avenue in Buffalo. The sign reads "Hysteria" after the name of the former business, and is located directely across the street from the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. As a recipient of mental health services, I feel the sign is highly stigmatizing, inappropriate and insensitive to all people living with a mental health diagnosis.
During a recent visit to a vocational program on the center's grounds, the sign caught my attention. It was a reminder of the prejudice and stigma that still exist in our society, and of the labels that have been used to define "mental health." To some, a simple sign may seem trivial. But to someone living with a label, it can retrace a painful history of labeling. Hopefully, the sign will be removed as soon as possible.