ASDA staff will be on hand to serve refreshments at the launch of Worthing’s first Mental Health Awareness Week on Monday.
In light of the recent scandal where Asda was found to be selling a Halloween costume of a ‘mental patient’, Worthing Mayor Bob Smytherman contacted the Ferring branch asking if staff would like to attend the launch event.
The supermarket giant not only agreed to send employees, but promised to provide refreshments and the staff to serve them.
Mr Smytherman said: “It’s an amazing result. It wasn’t the local staff’s fault but as a company it was a massive fiasco. How anyone could remotely think it’s acceptable absolutely beggars belief. It was quite unbelievable. It’s hard to believe that someone sitting around in a meeting approved the product. It’s completely unacceptable.”
Mr Smytherman said Asda had also confirmed it would be coming to Worthing & Arun Mind’s celebrate World Mental Health Day on Thursday, October 3.
“It’s about talking to the friends and family of people who have suffered from mental health problems,” he said.
The Mayor said he was appalled by Asda’s ‘mental patient’ costume which included a blood-splattered straight jacket, a wild-haired mask and a meat cleaver.
He said: “Mental patients are not walking around in anything like what Asda were describing. It’s just not the reality.”
Mr Smytherman said simply giving a lump sum of money to Mind was ‘the easy way out’.
“What is much better is what the Ferring store is doing, and that is coming to engage with, to learn from and to experience people who are suffering from mental health problems.”
One in four people in the UK will suffer from some kind of mental health problem at some point in their lives.
“It’s happening all over the place,” said the Mayor.
A spokesman for Asda said: “This was an unacceptable error and the product was withdrawn immediately. We’d like to offer our sincere apologies for the offence it caused. We take our responsibilities very seriously which is why we will make a £25k donation to MIND.”