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Vogue Portugal apologises over controversial mental health front cover

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Portuguese model Sara Sampaio deemed the front cover in bad taste
Portuguese model Sara Sampaio deemed the front cover in bad taste   -   Copyright  AP Photos
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Fashion magazine Vogue Portugal has pulled a controversial front cover that critics say makes a gimmick of mental illness.

The July/August issue cover depicted two nurses and a woman in what looks like a hospital setting. One of the nurses pours water on the woman's head as she sits in a bathtub, looking vulnerable.

The image generated a huge backlash on social media.

"I am disgusted. Mental illness IS NOT a fashion trend", "This is beyond offensive. Unbelievable", "I'm a nurse and I feel ashamed by this cover", were just some of the comments Vogue Portugal received upon the launch of the issue.

Criticism also came from Portuguese model Sara Sampaio, who deemed the cover as "very bad taste!".

Time To Change, a UK organisation battling mental health discrimination, commented on the cover on Twitter, saying that "the public will no longer stand to see mental illness used as a gimmick".

"Calling out stigma like this can send a powerful message to the world – that stigmatising mental health problems is never acceptable."

Vogue Portugal initially claimed that its "Madness" issue was about "love", "life", and "mental health", but on Monday the magazine apologised "for any offence or upset caused" by the photoshoot, clarifying that "the subject of mental health needs a more thoughtful approach."