World Toilet Day 2019 logo

It’s World Toilet Day – and Yes, That’s a Thing

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

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female emancipation word graphic

The Tragedy of Female Genital Mutilation

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

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many arrows pointing at the central intersection

Intersectionality and what it means for mental health

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

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workplace mental heatlh statistics

Mental Illness and Employment Discrimination

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

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Tree diagram showing effects of social inquities

Why social determinants of health matter

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

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drawing of an American flag waving

Happy Fourth of July

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

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LGBTQ Pride Flag

Who gets to decide others’ identities?

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?

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Homelessness and mental health infographic from the Homeless Hub

We all deserve a roof over our heads

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

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