Listen to entire program here:
Next week (Jan 16-20) is Mental Health Awareness Week on campus. Mental health has long been considered a rather taboo subject and many people suffer as a result. The shame and confusion associated with mental illness locks too many in isolation and despair. On the program I wanted to take a look at mental illness from a social justice perspective, and that means taking a look back in history at the disease and how it was viewed and treated, and how pwoplw coped. The disease is certainly not respectful of class, income or social standing; yet treatment and access to it are dependent on all three. (LINK: Canadian Mental Health Association/Windsor Branch)
During my stay in Senator Croll Park as part of Occupy Windsor, we met, as I would say all other Occupy sites did, homeless people who were attracted to us for shelter, food and clothes. What was also evident was that many suffered from some sort of mental illness. We had to call an ambulance several times for one fellow in particular who was not able to look after himself (taking medicine when required and eating regularly) and seemed disconnected from the world around him. As far as we know he got the help he needed and one has to ask, what if we hadn’t been in the park? Also, even if someone is of sound mund and body, after a length of time homeless on the streets as an outcast, the wear and tear on mind and body is tremendous. Nowhere is the stigma about mental health more acute than with those on the street. How do they get help, especially compared to those more privileged in society? What historically has been the answer?
For some perspective, in the first half hour I spoke to Windsor native and York University Associate Professor Geoffery Reaume, who teaches in the Critical Disability Graduate Program in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and in the School of Health Policy and Management in the Faculty of Health. He is also a mental health survivor. Professor Reaume was the keynote speaker at last year’s awareness week here at UWindsor ( Mad People’s History). Reaume spoke at length about the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health , and you can read an article about the “Wall Art” here.
In the second half hour I spoke to Steve Green, community and food activist and founder of the Windsor Essex Community Supported Agriculture. Green is promoting and upcoming film night at The Capitol Theatre:
Green is a passionate advocate for citizen empowerment and is a leading figure in the local struggle in the advancement of citizen led democracy.