This post was written by Danielle Landry. She teaches Mad People’s History as part-time instructor with the School of Disability Studies.
Ok, let’s talk.
Let’s talk about how those two new workplace scenario commercials only reinforce the idea that it’s unsafe to talk about mental health to your boss or co-workers, instead of establishing that employers in Ontario actually have a duty to accommodate disabled workers, including those with psychiatric disabilities.
Let’s stop positioning disabled people as charity cases through a-nickel-for-every-text campaigns.
Let’s talk about the erosion of our social systems through corporate greed.
Let’s ask why Bell hasn’t instituted any programs to support its low-income customers, such as if they need a reprieve from paying their bills during a hospital stay.
Let’s talk about why it’s not okay that we have to rely on corporate sponsorship to sustain our mental health system. Let’s ask if corporate influence serves to deter (or co-opt) the kinds of radical approaches and critical thinking that are essential for challenging the mental health system to improve and innovate.
Let’s talk about how we’re constantly establishing and maintaining divisions between people (labels, diagnoses, categories of who is ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’) and how these divisions keep us from working together for change.
Let’s question the false dichotomy that’s been created and is being perpetuated in the media between those ‘productive citizens’ with mental health problems and those ‘others’ diagnosed with serious mental illnesses, and how this is a tactic to divide our community and squash social movement.
Let’s talk about how we shouldn’t shame ourselves for not achieving all of the things the white upper-middle celebrities who’ve ‘come out’ to lead these campaigns have managed to achieve in their ‘overcoming’ narratives.
Let’s acknowledge that our experiences differ based on our various social locations, but let’s come together to recognize how we all have a role to play in dismantling all forms of oppression.
Let’s talk about the importance of community.
Let’s talk about universal access as a standard of living.
Let’s talk about our rights.
Let’s talk about our collective history and where we need to go from here.