A range of cushions replicating medication used to treat depression and anxiety have divided mental health campaigners.
The pillows, by interiors brand Jonathan Adler, come in three styles: Xanax (sometimes prescribed for anxiety), Prozax (a common antidepressant) and Quaalude (an illegal sedative).
While some campaigners believe the pillows “turn a serious issue into a gimmick”, others claim they could help mental ill health become “an accepted part of everyone’s life”.
The pillows reportedly first sparked a backlash on Instagram after a photo of them was shared by the official Jonathan Adler account.
According to Metro.co.uk, some commenting claimed the cushions were made in “poor taste” while others thought they were “funny and irreverent”.
The Instagram post has since been deleted, but the cushions remain available to purchase online.
“Perk up your sofa with the right pharmaceuticals,” the product description reads.
“Our Prozac Needlepoint Pillow brings our affair with all things medicinal to your pillowscape. Take just one, or follow our professional recommendation to mix the whole assortment.”
Commenting on the mixed reception the products have received, Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, said the pillows could normalise mental ill health.
“While some people may take offence at these cushions, we do not wish to criticise Jonathan Adler, or to demand their withdrawal from sale,” she told HuffPost UK.
“If there is no intention to cause offence we don’t think it is helpful to be too prescriptive, as it risks creating a climate in which people may be frightened from talking about mental health at all.
“And if we are constantly treading on egg-shells, how can we make mental health an accepted part of everyone’s life?”
But Craig Butler, a mental health campaigner who has previously written about his own experiences of depression, disagrees.
“I’m not a big fan of these,” he told HuffPost UK.
“I’m all for trying to making light of serious issues as it’s important, but this is at a point where society is just establishing mental health as a credible and major issue and my personal opinion is that this jeopardises that.
“I think things like this just turn a serious issue into a gimmick - it feels cheap to me and I don’t think turning mental health into a novelty is helpful.”
It seems the jury is well and truly out on this one. What do you think of the pillows? Tweet us at @huffpolifestyle to tell us your thoughts.
HuffPost UK has contacted Jonathan Adler for comment and is awaiting response.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org