An Open Letter to The Circus of Horrors

Update: The Circus of Horrors show has been renamed and their marketing has been updated to remove mental health references and stereotypes- 8th December 2018

The Circus of Horrors is currently touring their new show called ‘Psycho Asylum’. This show wrongly portrays mental illnesses such as psychosis and schizophrenia, and details psychiatric wards and hospitals extremely inaccurately. It is events such as the ‘Psycho Asylum’ which build mental health stigma rather than breaking it down.

The show suggests that sufferers of these illnesses are violent and threatening. In reality these people are more likely to be the victims of violence; not perpetrators. Individuals commonly take up self-harming behaviours and inflict pain onto themselves rather than others.

The Circus of Horrors

Lets look into the facts

The British Crime Survey states that around 30% of victims believed the offender attacked them because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

 Contrastingly, only 1% of victims believed that the incident happened due to the offender having a mental illness.

The outdated association between mental illnesses and violence is a stereotype which needs to be left in the past. It isn’t fair for a show to be the reason that people isolate themselves from society, to escape the myth that they are violent.

If I asked you to think about a psychiatric ward, your mind would probably jump to the things seen in movies, right? People being locked away by chains, or beaten and tortured everyday. This could not be further from the reality of present day psychiatric wards. Psychiatric wards are the workplace of professionals that dedicate their lives to helping people to recover from their mental illness. Service users receive treatment and therapies which teach them to cope and adequately function on a daily basis. They can receive education and support with individual studies. They have free time to paint, go outside, read, write letters, call their loved ones…


The reality of psychiatric wards

I am blessed to have friendships with people that have experienced time in psychiatric wards. Here are some of the things that they had to say about their time there:

My time in a psychiatric ward saved my life. I experienced episodes of depression and I couldn’t remember the last time I laughed or smiled. The nurses there helped me to smile again.’

‘I thought psychiatric wards were dark and scary but I couldn’t have been more wrong. There was art everywhere, and music always playing. The nurses and other service users were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

‘I was on a psychiatric ward for five months. As I recovered I was given more freedom and the nurses helped me to stop self harming. Today I’m 835 days clean.’


I have contacted ‘The Circus of Horrors’ although they have not replied. Resultingly, I will continue to voice my concerns with this show, in the hope that the inaccurate and negative mental health stereotypes can be removed. I would appreciate my readers sharing this post so that a change can take place. You can also email ‘The Circus of Horrors’ at

People deserve to live in a world where they are not stereotyped and misjudged by people cruelly wanting to make money from their vulnerability.

Love Casey x


Below are links to websites that can support you if you are suffering from mental illness.


116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)


0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday)




  1. Rebekah Gillian
    December 5, 2018 / 8:20 PM

    Wow! I hadn't heard of this show before reading your blog post, but I can't believe something that displays mental illness in such a negative light has been given the go ahead for a tour in 2018? What kind of mockery is that towards everyone who has given their all to dispelling the negative connotations attached to mental illness? I hope the show responds to your request and at least acknowledges the damage they're doing, but sadly, I doubt it'll happen. A lot of people believe we're over mental health stigma, but this post just shows that we're still a long way off yet. Rebekah Gillian |

    • Casey
      December 5, 2018 / 8:24 PM

      Hello Rebekah,I hadn't heard of it before today when Time to Change wrote an article about it. I know, it does go against everything we've been working towards in terms of reducing the stigma. Thank you so much for reading and leaving a comment!Love Casey x

  2. Sarah Jones
    December 5, 2018 / 8:27 PM

    I couldn't agree more with what you are saying! I think spreading the idea that people with mental health issues are "scary" and "psychos" is such a damaging idea to have. It's like a few years ago when Urban Outfitters released costumes for halloween meant to reflect a patient in an insane asylum. I thought we'd moved on from ideas of mental health being used in horror but I guess there's still a lot to be done!Sarah x

    • Casey
      December 6, 2018 / 9:01 AM

      Hello Sarah,It is really damaging! It's exactly like that. Still, we have come a long way. Thank you for reading and commenting!Love Casey x

  3. Amie Cadwallader
    December 5, 2018 / 8:38 PM

    I've never heard of the show, but honestly it is just so wrong and completely unnecessary. I would have thought in 2018 we had realised what was right and wrong,but clearly not! Those comments from your friends really touched my heart!Love, Amie ❤The Curvaceous Vegan

    • Casey
      December 6, 2018 / 9:02 AM

      Hello Amie,Thank you for reading and leaving a lovely comment! Love Casey x

  4. Alisha Valerie Gerrard
    December 6, 2018 / 8:26 PM

    This show sounds vile and horrid, why would anyone pay money for tickets to see it? So wrong! Sending you all of my love 💜✨With love, Alisha Valerie x

    • Casey
      December 6, 2018 / 8:45 PM

      Hello Alisha,Thank you so much!Love Casey x

  5. Naomi Brown
    December 6, 2018 / 8:35 PM

    I hadn't heard of this before tonight, but I cannot believe that this even got the funding to go ahead in 2018, absolutely speechless. Thank you for spreading awareness, and campaigning against this xx

    • Casey
      December 6, 2018 / 8:46 PM

      Hello Naomi,Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I’ll continue to fight the stigma!Love Casey x

  6. CharleneMcElhinney
    December 6, 2018 / 8:48 PM

    Why is this even a thing? Shocking! Good on you for raising awareness, and speaking out, in this day and age where we try to fight mh stigma and support those who suffer – this should not be happening!Charlene McElhinney

    • Casey
      December 6, 2018 / 8:51 PM

      Hello Charlene,Thank you so much! I agree, but they won’t win!Love Casey x

  7. Hannahs Life Diaries
    December 7, 2018 / 8:23 AM

    It's really disgraceful that things like this show are just generally accepted in society. Mental illness is a very hard reality for some, myself included and this just goes to show show far away we are from being understood, heard and helped! Sad sad times. Thank you for sharing this Casey, we really do need to shed a light on things like this.Hannah |

    • Casey
      December 8, 2018 / 8:40 PM

      Hello Hannah,I completely agree! Thank you for your lovely comment and ongoing support!Love Casey x

  8. Unknown
    December 10, 2018 / 7:06 PM

    That was so interesting and I completely agree! Veronica |

    • Casey
      December 10, 2018 / 8:53 PM

      Hello Veronica,Thank you very much!Love Casey x

  9. Jingely
    December 10, 2018 / 7:45 PM

    Great post in raising awareness about the actualities of mental illnesses rather than what is a dramatised perception of the most extreme cases. Thanks for such a post! X

    • Casey
      December 10, 2018 / 11:32 PM

      Hello!Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I’m glad you enjoyed it!Love Casey x

  10. Unknown
    December 10, 2018 / 9:34 PM

    It's so concerning that this sort of thing still exists! Well done for speaking out and making people aware of this horrific 'show'. Keep fighting the good fight xxx

    • Casey
      December 10, 2018 / 11:32 PM

      Hello,Thank you very much, I definetly will!Love Casey x

  11. Emma
    December 11, 2018 / 11:27 AM

    How appalling that this still exists!! Thank you for bringing awareness to it and fighting against it!! Even the word 'mental' has such terrible connotations it's so upsetting. Hope you hear back from there soon xx Emma

    • Casey
      December 11, 2018 / 11:53 AM

      Hello Emma, Thank you for commenting! Love Casey x

  12. January 15, 2019 / 7:50 PM

    Thank you for writing this post and raising awareness of this place and how wrongly mental illness is portrayed. I honestly believe that these stereotypes are more dangerous and damaging than the people that are cast into this category. I would like to see more people show understanding and compassion towards people with mental illness to help remove the stigma surrounding it.

    Keep up the good work.

    • casestreetx
      January 16, 2019 / 7:30 PM

      Hello lovely,
      I completely agree, the stereotypes can be so harmful and dangerous, which is why it’s so important to challenge mental health stigma.
      Love Casey x

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