Let’s Talk…

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So you want to talk about mental health and stigma?

Let’s talk about:
-how few mental health care services there are for children under 12
-how long the waiting lists are for any of our vastly inadequate publicly funded mental health services
-how Canada has a two-tired mental health system and those who are economically marginalized are often completely unable to access any long term mental health care
-how few mental health care services are truly trauma informed
-how people who cope through substance use, self harm, suicidal thoughts or other “negative” coping techniques are stigmatized, blamed and often thought to be manipulative or attention seeking
-lack of services for eating disorders and long wait lists which exclude everyone except the most ill
-abelism
-the capitalist idea that people’s worth is directly defined by how productive they are (which contributes to the stigma faced by mentally ill people who are not able to work)
-lack of affordable housing options which keep survivors of violence from being able to leave
-poverty: it’s not easy to recover from mental illness when you don’t have the money for food
-racism, colonialism, transphobia, homophobia, sexism, classism and oppression which impacts people’s ability to access services and to recover
-the idea that mentally ill people are lazy and need to just try harder or cheer up
-the fact that many treatments and medications actually make people worse and the fact that it is often an extremely difficult and painful process to find a medication that helps (and whether or not these medication are affordable)
-how few psychiatrists there are and how short their appointment times are
-the lack of publicly funded counseling services, especially ones that are not just brief, time limited sessions (which often aren’t enough for trauma survivors or those with a serious illness)
-how people with mental illness still face discrimination in the workplace
-the whole “but you don’t look sick” issue which feeds into stigma
-the fact that most people don’t qualify for services until their situation is severe, chronic and urgent
-the lack of preventative care for mental illness
-how the school system is not trauma informed and how children with mental illness are often viewed as “problems”
-sexual violence, violence and intimate partner violence:the majority of people living with severe mental illness have experienced violence
-how lonely and isolating it can be to live with a mental illness
-how people who are “high functioning” are often not viewed as having a real illness, but those who are not able to function adequately in society are viewed as lazy or crazy
-high rates of suicide for trans and gender diverse people, specifically those who are not affirmed, accepted and supported
-how difficult (if not impossible) our fragmented mental health care system is to navigate
-high rates of burnout for staff working in the system which is overworked, underfunded and under resourced
-lack of culturally appropriate care for Indigenous folks
-the problematic aspects of the DSM
-media stereotypes which present people with a mental illness as violent, unpredictable and scary monsters (most recently the movie Split)
-horrible stigma perpetuating “games” such as the asylum escape rooms
-stigmatizing use of language (using mental illness related words as casual descriptors)
-joking about suicide
-the silence and isolation that family members, caregivers and the person themselves faces because their illness is a mental illness not a physical one (nobody is bringing casseroles after you attempt suicide)
-how hard it is to be a parent with a mental illness and the fears that child protection might take away your children because you have a history of self harm
-how hard it is to ask for help or be honest about struggling with mental illness because of the fears of stigma and exclusion
-how little funding there is for ending gender based violence
-how people with mental illness can become criminalized due to interactions with the police

This isn’t just about ending stigma.
#letstalk

 

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