Thorpe Park maze criticised for mental theme

The AsylumThorpe Park’s Asylum scare maze has been criticised for its theme of disturbed mental health patients.

The attraction has formed part of the park’s Halloween Fright Nights since 2006, but significant opposition has only surfaced this year.

A petition on the website currently has 965 signatures, after it was set up by nursing student Katie Sutton.

The maze features actors that play insane inhabitants of the fictional institution.

Marjorie Wallace, of mental health charity Sane, told the Metro newspaper: “The reality is that the vast majority live ordinary lives in the community and such old-fashioned ideas can damage the way people respond to them.”

Earlier this month supermarkets ASDA and Tesco removed a ‘mental health patient’ Halloween costume from sale, following claims that it stigmatised people suffering from psychological disorders.

Thorpe Park has defended The Asylum, with a spokesperson saying: “This is primarily a matter of context. The maze is not something you happen upon when out shopping.

‘This maze is also in its eighth year of operation and is an obviously extreme and simulated experience which draws on classic horror film content.

‘It is not intended, nor is it deemed to be by those who have actually experienced it, to be in any way offensive or to be a realistic portrayal of a mental health or indeed any other institution.’