Benny The Bipolar Bear - Mental Illness Mascot

August 22, 2012 Alistair McHarg

Popular animals have long been associated with products, institutions and causes to draw attention, increase likeability, and help fix key ideas in the public imagination. One need only mention Smokey The Bear to make the case convincingly.

Sporting a broad-brimmed ranger hat and gazing with unblinking, unforgiving eyes, Smokey warned us that we were the only ones capable of preventing forest fires. One had the sense that Smokey was not a bear to be trifled with, and yet, showing his vulnerable side he revealed that – as tough as he was – without our cooperation he, and his forest companions – deer, moles, ticks, woodchucks, badgers, marmosets, Thompson’s gazelles, beavers, polecats, and salamanders – and moose – were in serious trouble.

This concept, that an enormous, fierce bear was depending on little old us, had currency – and the campaign lasted not just for years but for decades. We liked Smokey, and we wanted to help him.

As you know, I spend all day every day thinking of new ways to turn my talents to the benefit of those burdened with what we generically refer to as mental illness. Importantly, time, tide, and the now-forgotten flower power era of the ‘60s have taken a terrible toll on my ability to think rationally, and so, I rely on what I shall refer to as “creative recycling” for many of my allegedly new ideas. Now is no time to change my style.

With that in mind, let me introduce to you the very newest mental health mascot, Benny The Bipolar Bear.

Keep an eye out for an upcoming ad campaign featuring Benny. He’ll be sharing important messages like these, intended to increase awareness of bipolar disorder.

Hi everybody! Benny The Bipolar Bear Reminding You...

Take your medicine…or don’t!

Stop me if I’ve already heard this before two Eskimos step onto an iceberg – true story! – the first one says, “You know, Nanook, I can’t help myself, no matter how many times I watch you slip on the ice and land on your butt, it’s still funny.

What would an ant be doing in the Arctic in the first place?

and more.

If Benny The Bipolar Bear catches on the way I think he will, other mental health mascots will be soon to follow. To help put an adorable face on the serious challenges of depression, I’m considering introducing Sid The Sad Sloth. Good, isn’t it? I can almost see the hand puppets now.

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2012, August 22). Benny The Bipolar Bear - Mental Illness Mascot, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

August, 24 2012 at 4:44 pm

I was just thinking,(oh no!) how about Bugs Bunny as a mascot for narcissists?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
August, 25 2012 at 1:15 pm

I like that. Bugs always was a self-absorbed stinker.

August, 22 2012 at 7:10 pm

I see Marlin the fish from Finding Nemo as the Anxiety-Panic Disorders mascot.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
August, 22 2012 at 11:49 pm

Excellent! The idea is taking off!

August, 22 2012 at 3:50 pm

I can see it now:
Donna,the dissociative identity disorder duck

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
August, 22 2012 at 4:15 pm

Outstanding. Donna, the Dissociative Identity Disorder Duck - she's not all she's quaked up to be!

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