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Thorpe Park Defends ‘Mental Patient’ Attraction

October 22, 2013

I signed the petition linked below with pleasure. I hope you will add your signature.

Calls to shut down a theme park Halloween attraction have been made in a petition whose organisers say it stigmatises mental illness.


The Asylum maze has been part of Thorpe Park’s annual Fright Nights for more than eight years.


Campaigners claim having actors chasing people around an asylum stigmatises mental ill health.


Thorpe Park said the attraction was not offensive or a realistic portrayal of a mental health institution.


A petition organised by Katie Sutton, a mental health nursing student at the University of Salford, has attracted more than 200 signatures.

‘Absolutely horrified’

Miss Sutton said she first became aware of the maze through Twitter.


“Thorpe Park kept repeating to people that there weren’t sufficient complaints. I thought if we can get actual forms of people bothered about it, then it might help.”


She said the matter had been discussed in one of her university classes and “everyone in the room was absolutely horrified”.


The charity Rethink Mental Illness has carried out a poll on Twitter to gauge people’s views.


Paul Jenkins, its chief executive officer, said: “While some people clearly feel very strongly about this, opinion has been mixed.


“While of course there’s nothing wrong with a bit of Halloween fun, explicit references to ‘patients’ crosses a line and reinforces damaging stereotypes about mental illness.”

‘Not universally representative’

In September, supermarket chains Tesco and Asda withdrew two Halloween outfits after they were criticised for stigmatising people with mental health issues.


Asda dropped its “mental patient fancy dress costume”, and Tesco later withdrew its “psycho ward” outfit.


In a statement, a Thorpe Park spokeswoman said the negative comments were not “universally representative”.


“This is primarily a matter of context. The maze is not something you happen upon when out shopping,” she said.


“This maze is also in its eighth year of operation and is an obviously extreme and simulated experience which draws on classic horror film content.


“It is not intended, nor is it deemed to be by those who have actually experienced it, to be in any way offensive or to be a realistic portrayal of a mental health or indeed any other institution.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2013 1:19 pm

    I’ve been going for years with the family and being mental myself i think the staff overall on this attraction do a good look like of myself although at the end of the day I’m the real deal

    overall it’s very harmless it’s just a few staff in the dark acting as if there like me mental(lol) with odd bizarre noise the sort of noise you would get from broad moor having your brain wired up to the mains

    the queues are always very long about 2 hours so do bear that in mind

    fright nights it’s very harmless and fun and it’s a shame that some people don’t like it the alternative is me on a dark night personally i think you would be better off going to the park as I’m not a pretty sight
    if you go enjoy The DWP don’t like me going thou they say it’s bad for my health i don’t get out much so a little light relief with thousands of others having a good time is not to be so easley dismissed

    if your mental and you’ve never been you will know this is just a harmless bit of fun to frighten the kids just as Frankenstein was to frighten me when i was a kid

  2. October 22, 2013 3:01 pm

    i have phoned up Thorpe park and told them to keep it just because we have a wicked government out to destroy the lives of the mentally ill the public jumping on the band wagon is not warranted to get this night closed

    mental people like myself who have been will not wont this evening spoiled for thousands just because someone feels it should be or stereotypes mental people in the wrong way

    the only people who see mental people as bad are the government and the press and that’s all no one else does

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