• Clodagh Meaney

Vogue Portugal criticised for stigmatising mental illness on the cover of 'The Madness Issue'

The cover depicts stigmatising stereotypes of mental health care facilities.


Vogue Portugal has been criticised for stigmatising mental illness on the cover of their July issue, 'The Madness Issue.'


The cover issue shows a naked woman with her knees pulled to her chest in a bathtub having water poured over her by one of two women standing either side of her in old fashioned nurses attire.


The image suggests old fashioned stereotypes of how mental health facilities are perceived.


In a statement to Metro, Nancy, a previous user of mental health facilities said: "My experience looked nothing like this cover – staff wore normal clothes, the unit had an activities room, music room, big gardens for us to walk around in, and tried the best it could to foster a communal and positive atmosphere."


"Of course it was challenging at times, but it was a world away from the ‘padded asylum’ type of image that this cover promotes," she explained.


"Depictions of mental health units like this are so damaging to overall perceptions of what people who spend time in these places are like. Mental health patients are ordinary people trying to cope with extremely difficult illnesses, but that doesn’t take away their humanity and personality."


Taking to Twitter and Instagram people have been quick to point out issues with the photograph.


"The new @VoguePortugal is extremely disrespectful, the glamorisation of asylums / traumatic methods of treatment just pushes the stigma further. I can't believe this was approved," wrote Elliot Morgan.


"'The Madness Issue' - mental health isn't a mood board, it's the unfortunate reality of many. Use your platform wisely and do better," he added.


Journalist, and mental health advocate Poorna Bell said: "On behalf of anyone who has ever been in a psychiatric hospital or had a loved one who has been in one, honestly Vogue Portugal, fuck you."


"Absolutely disgusting. Well done, Vogue Portugal for keeping the mental illness stigma going. Gutted to see something so reprehensible," said another tweeter.


On Instagram, the cover reveal was met with similar outrage.


"Inappropriate on many levels," wrote one person, with model Sara Sampaio adding: "These kind of pictures should not be representing the conversation about mental health. I think it's very bad taste!"


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