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‘Vogue’ slammed for magazine cover’s out-of-date depiction of mental illness

The Vogue magazine group has been slammed for depicting damaging representations of mental illness, namely in its Portuguese masthead, dubbed the ‘Madness Issue’.

The cover features a young model in a bathtub in a hospital with two nurses over her shoulder, one of them pouring water over her head.

The model in the bathtub is Simona Kirchnerova from Slovakia while the nurses are played by her real mother and grandmother.

Kirchnerova tweeted this week: “Made it to Vogue cover with my mum and grandma.”

Magazine editors said the confronting image was intended to “start a discussion” and revealed the issue featured interviews and contributions from psychiatrists, sociologists, psychologists “and other experts”.

Health representatives have criticised the cover, saying the depiction is out of date and that it did nothing to help people who suffered from real mental health issues.

Two alternative covers also flirt with themes of inanity and insanity; one featuring a woman ringing a ‘help’ bell while legs wrapped in tights wriggle beneath her big dress; another seeing a model lazing on the beach while a photographic assistant looks on in a face mask.

The magazine has responded to the backlash in an Instagram post, saying: “Vogue Portugal deeply apologises for any offence or upset caused by this photo shoot. On reflection, we realise the subject of mental health needs a more thoughtful approach.”

Antonino Tati

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