Patient groups prompt NYU to pull ads

Bowing to outraged patient advocates, NYU Child Study Center said it will halt its controversial print and outdoor ads aimed at raising awareness of mental health problems in kids.

The ads, produced pro-bono by BBDO, take the form of ransom notes from a range of psychiatric disorders including autism, ADHD, Asperger syndrome, depression, bulimia and obsessive compulsive disorder. Patient groups said the ads, which appeared in regional publications and billboards, kiosks and construction sites around New York, reinforced damaging stereotypes, wrongly suggesting that children with autism and other psychiatric disorders are helpless and incapable of functioning in society.

The NYU Child Study Center's director, Harold Koplewicz, MD, said in a statement that while the ads got people's attention, they'd become a distraction from the issues they were meant to raise awareness of. 

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