Fast food restaurants are known for taking stabs at each other in their advertising. Wendy’s has a brutal approach that most millennials love to read and re-tweet. Burger King and McDonald’s have been long rivals like popular high school football teams. But this time, Burger King took it up a notch.
May is Mental Health Awareness month. We can all agree that mental health is a HUGE issue in our country. Stigmas surrounding mental health make it difficult for people to seek help. There are more and more people speaking out for mental health awareness, but it seems that it’s only the surface of mental health. Let’s just say, most people stay in the shallow end of the mental health pool. Burger King took a stab at McDonald’s child focused Happy Meals and created “Real Meals”.
What’s the REAL DEAL?
Burger King, in my opinion is no different. I applaud them for bringing attention to Mental Health Awareness month. I watched the brief video with the lyrics that many can nod their head in agreement to. My question is, where are the real mental health issues? Burger King sells a “pissed” meal, a ‘Blue” meal and one with expletives. How about an “anxiety” meal for those that spend the majority of their day thinking about or worrying over things. Many of those that struggle with anxiety also struggle with stomach issues from constant anxiety and worry.
What about a depression meal? “Blue” is such an easy word to use. “I’m feeling a little blue.” No one wants to say, “I’m depressed.” Perhaps we could order a Schizophrenic meal. Just like everyone else, Burger King is dancing around the true issues of mental health with the “easy to talk about” things, like bullying, teen pregnancy, etc. No, these aren’t easy topics, but they are far easier to talk about than Bipolar, Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Fast Food, FAST FAD
I agree that not every one “wakes up happy”. I think mental health needs more attention. But let’s get REAL. Being “salty” is not a mental health issue. If you want to use your name and notoriety to truly bring light to mental health, don’t tread lightly. Talk about the REAL issues. Instead of letting millennials purchase a “pissed” meal, donate to a homeless shelter. That’s where mental health meals are being served. According to Harvard University, 45% of homeless have a history of mental health diagnosis. This isn’t a trendy topic to capitalize on. It’s truly an epidemic that is destroying people and families.
Burger King neglects to share any information about mental illness, such as where to reach out. If you want to learn more about mental illness and mental health, check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). I have spoken for them in the past at a HeadStart conference as a parent and teacher of children with mental health diagnosis. They have amazing support systems for families and have wonderful resources.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Be sure to comment or send me an email if you have any questions about learning more about mental health!