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.
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 to maintain a safe space for all, discriminatory comments will not be tolerated.
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
- Intersectionality and what it means for mental health: There are multiple factors that can contribute to the inequality experienced by different individuals with mental illness.
- 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
- Human rights and mental illness – how is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights relevant to people with mental illness?
- 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
- The Tragedy of Female Genital Mutilation: “female circumcision” just doesn’t do justice to the horrific nature of FGM
- Tomorrow is Earth Day: being poor and otherwise disadvantaged affects access to clear air and drinking water
- Voter ID Laws as a Form of Voter Suppression: Voter ID laws may seem like a good idea, but this can end up disenfranchising marginalized groups
- 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
- Who gets to decide others’ identities? – why does the Vatican think it can dictate gender identity?
- 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