Social justice addresses the intersectionality of factors that cause some segments of society to be disadvantaged in terms of access, equity, rights, and participation. These factors can include disability, gender, race, sexuality, and colonialization. Because of the multiplicity of factors that can contribute to and interact with mental illness, many have argued that mental health is a social justice issue.
Within the mental illness community, we often face stigma because of our illness, but many of us are disadvantaged because of other factors as well. It’s important that we speak up not just about discrimination related to mental health, but also about the other social injustices that we experience and bear witness to.
Social justice-related blog posts
These are some posts on MH@H related to social justice issues, and the intersection between mental health and other justice and equality issues:
- Alienation and Brutality: looks at the documentary Alien Boy and the police brutality that killed a man with schizophrenia
- God Knows Where I Am: Death by Mental Illness: this documentary tells the story of a woman with bipolar disorder who was released from hospital in the middle of winter with no where to go, and her subsequent death by starvation
- Happy Fourth of July: as asylum-seekers are kept in cages and separated from their children, there is no freedom without freedom for all
- I have a pre-existing condition: how having a health condition makes it harder to get health insurance
- Is healthcare a right or a privilege? And is it people speaking from positions of privilege who insist it’s not a right?
- International Women’s Day: Balance for Better
- My body is my own – so why should governments get to decide what happens to it?
- So, what is the opioid epidemic?: this public health crisis disproportionately affects those of lower socioeconomic status
- The Failure of the War on Drugs means that disproportionately poor individuals and racial majorities are being incarcerated en masse
- Tomorrow is Earth Day: being poor and otherwise disadvantaged affects access to clear air and drinking water
- We all deserve a roof over our heads: people with mental illness are over-represented in the homeless population
- Where race and mental health collide: race can have a huge impact on stigma and access to care
- Why don’t more people understand consent?: what’s so hard about only yes means yes?
- Why feminism helps all of us: feminism attacks the gender stereotypes and expectations that end up pushing us all down
- Why social determinants of health matter: systemic inequities can have a major impact on our health
MH@H stance on social justice
We all have elements of our identity that provide us with advantages and also with disadvantages, and appreciating those in ourselves helps us to relate to others. I recognize that as a white person, I have tremendous social privilege. Being cis-gendered, heterosexual, and well educated also confers privilege. At the same time, I’m at a disadvantage by being female in a society still dominated by patriarchy, having a mental illness, and experiencing disability because of that illness.
I believe we should be celebrating the diversity among us, and embrace the whole range of human identities and experiences. Love unites us and makes us stronger, and hate only divides and weakens us. That’s why this blog is a discrimination-free zone, and discriminatory comments will not be tolerated.