On January 28, Brock University’s Human Rights and Equity (HRE) department will be hosting a workshop called ‘Suicide Intervention for Weirdos, Freaks and Queers’. The workshop will be held at the Dr. Charles A. Sankey Chambers located in A-block of Mackenzie Chown Complex, and is open to all identities.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario, “equity issues in mental health have a significant and often negative impact on the people, communities, and health system of Ontario. Consider that our lesbian, gay bisexual and trans (LGBT) youth are over four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. That people with mental health issues face discrimination in employment, housing and many other essential and health-promoting areas of life. That Northern Ontarians face the highest rates of depression, hospitalization and medication use, but have access to less comprehensive, available and accessible mental health services and supports.”
Due to decreased access to the social determinants of health, inequities negatively impact on the mental health of Ontarians. Marginalized groups are more likely to experience poor mental health and in some cases, mental health conditions. In addition, marginalized groups also have decreased access to the social determinants of health that are essential to recovery and positive mental health.
Poor mental health has a negative impact on equity. And while mental health is a key resource for accessing the social determinants of health, historical and ongoing stigma has resulted in discrimination and social exclusion of people with lived experience of mental health issues or conditions (PWLE).
People often experience both mental health issues and additional inequities (such as poverty, racialization or homophobia) simultaneously,” said Leela MadhavaRau, Director of Human Rights and Equity. “Intersectionality creates unique experiences of inequity and mental health that poses added challenges at the individual, community and health systems level.
These issues disproportionately impact three clusters of populations: people with lived experience of mental health issues (PWLE); people who experience marginalization related to the social determinants of health such as sexual orientation, poverty, racialization and disability and PWLE who also experience additional marginalization related to the social determinants of health.
“Three big and interconnected dangers that I see increasing folks’ danger of suicide are shame, stigma, and isolation, said Carly Boyce, the facilitator of the workshop. “So my approach is about bringing more comfort and competence to conversations about suicide, which can have an impact on all of those factors.”
Boyce feels that many individuals have given up on western medicine, therapy and social services either because they have had really negative experiences or because those things aren’t accessible to them.
“This [workshop] is for those who want to make certain they can support loved ones who find themselves in this situation.” said MadhavaRau.
At Brock, resources for anyone struggling with mental health or suicide may be found at brocku.ca/mental-health/issues/suicide/. Interested individuals in attending this event can email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.