Furry Fun or Mocking Mental Illness?

A new line of plush toys highlighting a range of psychiatric disorders is causing controversy.

Minority groups are right to seek representation, and usually any attention is good attention when you’re talking about raising awareness for your cause. But when it comes to a new line of plush toys, the psychiatric community isn’t so sure this particular type of attention is good news for those suffering from mental illness.

A German toymaker named Paraplush has recently released a new batch of stuffed animals that each suffer from a different psychiatric disorder. The ailments range from bipolar disorder and depression to multiple personality disorder and more.

Furry Fun or Mocking Mental Illness?

Meet the Paraplush Cast

The company’s website has an online store, tactlessly named “The Asylum: Psychiatric Clinic for Abused Cuddlytoys” that gives an inkling of what’s to come. Scroll down and you’ll find Dub the depressed turtle; Sly, a slithery snake who experiences hallucinations; Kroko, a crocodile with an inexplicable fear of water; a nonverbal, puzzle-obsessed hippo named Lilo; and a sheep named Dolly who suffers from multiple personality disorder. The troubled plush pets even come packaged with a medical history and treatment plan.

Also available is a pair of posters that the site touts as perfect “for educational use and your waiting room.” The German-language posters detail “the theorie of plushtoy psychoanalysis” and “some common methods of treatment for plushtoys.”

While we can’t say the company’s underlying motives aren’t well-intentioned, the stuffed animals don’t seem likely to help in the healing of mental health issues. Treatment of psychiatric issues is complex and requires the help of a professional – one without stuffing inside. When it comes to the treatment of mental health issues along with addiction or other co-occurring disorders, finding professionals experienced in these connected fields is particularly important.

Mental Illness Treatment

If you or someone you love is battling a mental illness with a co-occurring substance abuse, call The Oaks at La Paloma at our toll-free number. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.

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