I love a good toilet joke, but this actually isn't one. World Toilet Day is an initiative of UN-Water, the United Nations agency that deals with sanitation. This year's theme is leaving no one behind, which speaks to the 4.2 billion people worldwide who don't have access to safe sanitation. The numbers are astonishing. Open defecation … Continue reading It’s World Toilet Day – and Yes, That’s a Thing
In 2017, during Jeff Session's confirmation hearing to be attorney general, Senator Elizabeth Warren raised concerns about Sessions' civil rights record. After quoting a statement made by former Senator Ted Kennedy in 1986, that Sessions was a disgrace to the Justice Department, Senator Warren proceeded to read a letter from Coretta Scott King that was written … Continue reading Nevertheless, she persisted
Not long ago, a photo was forwarded to Time.com from a 2001 yearbook of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who was a teacher at the time, dressed in an Aladdin costume that included brownface makeup. It caused quite a stir, with some people criticizing him as being racist. Since it's Halloween, it seems like a … Continue reading Halloween, Blackface, and Cultural Appropriation
With all the craziness going on in the world, elections have been on a lot of people's minds lately. The other day I started watching Chelsea Handler's new documentary special on Netflix called Hello, Privilege. It's Me, Chelsea. The focus was on white privilege, but one of the things it touched on is the issue … Continue reading Voter ID Laws as a Form of Voter Suppression
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is sometimes referred to euphemistically as female circumcision, but it is very different from male circumcision in both form and function. FGM involves cutting or removing parts of the external female genitalia, including some or all of the clitoral glans and clitoral hood, inner labia, and outer labia. The diagram below … Continue reading The Tragedy of Female Genital Mutilation
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1948. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some of the articles contained in it from the perspective of someone with mental illness, and throw in some assorted other observations as well. Text in italic font is the actual … Continue reading Human Rights and Mental Illness
The concept of intersectionality was first proposed in 1989 by black feminist researcher Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to represent the many different layers of social stratification that can combine to disadvantage people. This includes factors like race, sexual orientation, social class, age, disability, and gender. Expanding on this concept, sociologist Patricia Hill Collins described the intersectional points … Continue reading Intersectionality and what it means for mental health
Employers aren't supposed to discriminate against people with mental illness. In fact, it's often against the law. Yet employment discrimination happens, so what do we do about it when it does? Canadian human rights legislation In Canada, provincial human rights legislation requires equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups. People … Continue reading Mental Illness and Employment Discrimination
NIMBYism is a fascinating phenomenon. NIMBYs, or people think that something is okay just as long as it's Not In My BackYard, cover discrimination with a thin veneer of civility and acceptability. Among the many manifestations of this is with regards to social housing, including supported housing for people with mental illness. NIMBYs' arguments may … Continue reading NIMBYism and Mental Health Housing
Social determinants of health represent those factors which, whether we have control over them or not, can significantly influence both physical and mental health outcomes. Differences produced by social injustice can (and does) produce systemic health inequities between rich and poor, with a "social gradient" in between. The Government of Canada identifies eleven key social … Continue reading Why social determinants of health matter
Happy Independence Day to my American friends! While the country celebrates freedom, the asylum-seekers detained in horrible conditions on the southern border also deserve to be in our thoughts. The Declaration of Independence states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with … Continue reading Happy Fourth of July
Like so many other things in this world, race shouldn't be an issue when it comes to mental health, but it is. I'm not talking about biological effects associated with race like genetic susceptibilities to certain illnesses, but rather the impact of socially imposed ideas about race, and the lack of equality that results. To … Continue reading Where race and mental health collide
Is access to healthcare a right that should be shared by all people regardless of socioeconomic status? Or is it a privilege that belongs to those who can afford to pay? Growing up in Canada, all I ever knew was a public healthcare system. There is no charge to see a doctor or to be … Continue reading Is healthcare a right or a privilege?
Last week, I heard in the news that the Vatican released a statement essentially saying that transgender identities simply doesn't exist. It seems unlikely to be a coincidence that this was done during Pride Month. Dismissing transgender identities brings to mind a similar question to what's raised by the abortion debate bubbling away in the … Continue reading Who gets to decide others’ identities?
According to the Homeless Hub, 30-35% experiencing homelessness have a mental illness. Among women, that figure jumps to 70%. How does society allow this to happen to some of our most vulnerable people? Housing is a basic fundamental need that all people should be able to access. Why are people with mental illness disproportionately represented … Continue reading We all deserve a roof over our heads