This jewellery collection is dividing opinion – but is it inappropriate or helpful?
On the landing page for the necklaces, brand founder Jen Gotch has posted a message reading: “I have struggled with mental health issues for most of my life and I know how challenging it can be both personally and professionally.
“It’s so important for us to open up a dialogue about how we are feeling and get to a place where we are comfortable asking for and receiving help”.
Gotch finishes by saying: “One thing we can all do is work to remove the stigmas associated with mental illness. These necklaces are a step in doing that and I hope they can also serve as a conversation starter for people to be more open about what’s going on in their minds.”
At $48 (£36.18) each, the scripted nameplate necklaces read “anxiety,” “bipolar,” and “depression”. While a hit with some, they’ve proven to be a major miss with others.
One Twitter user’s concern was that the “majority of people who see this necklace will not know that it’s to be worn for awareness”. Another felt that the necklaces “romanticise” mental illness. And an Instagram user commented, “I have depression and I find this unacceptable!”.
The debate kicked off after one Twitter user posted a picture of the necklaces alongside a caption reading: “‘Yikes’, followed by “@shopbando Romanticising mental illness is very uncool…even worse that you are doing it for profit”.
The brand was quick to respond, clarifying that all proceeds from the necklaces go to charity, and that the cause was one close to the founder’s heart.
these necklaces were designed by our founder jen who has bipolar disorder and all net proceeds from these necklaces go directly to @BC2M, a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging dialogue about mental health and to raising awareness, understanding, and empathy.— ban.do (@shopbando) May 28, 2018
Whether rightly or wrongly, ban.do’s jewelry line has certainly served to stimulate conversation around the impossibly delicate subject of mental health.
And it is worth noting that all profit from the necklaces goes to Bring Change to Mind, “a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to ending the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness”.
Image credit: ban.do