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Posts from the ‘Social Change’ Category

Be Safe app for youth: A community creating change

by Erin Schulthies


Be Safe was first developed for young people in London Ontario, to help them navigate the mental health system. If you’re interested in adapting for your city, contact mindyourmind

On April 1st, the London branch of the Systems Improvement through Service Collaboratives launched the Be Safe app, a tool to help youth in crisis.

With both a smartphone version and a printable paper pocket guide (pdf), it is versatile for both young people and their mental health care providers.

I should know. After 13 years in London’s mental health care system, knowing the essentials of my needs in crisis is key to weathering my storms.

The Be Safe app helps me keep my personal information close at hand and helps me choose where to turn should I need extra support.

I am proud to say that I was part of the team that developed this app from the beginning, along with other youth with lived experience. Read more

YES! Ontario’s mental health and human rights policy can help

By Lucy Costa, Advocate with the Empowerment Council

poster and brochures for the OHCR policy on mental health disabilities and addictions

I support the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) policy and in fact, I support any and all avenues that discuss the rights of people with psychiatric disabilities and/or addictions – whether via the Ontario Human Rights Code or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act or the CAMH Bill of Client Rights (pdf).

Why? Because:

  1. Rights processes unsettle the status quo, they defeat denial by challenging powerful institutions or practices that entrench prejudice or inequality even in well-meaning individuals and organizations.   
  2. The principle that one cannot be more or less human than any another member of our society is the most unprecedented act of love and equality we can all aspire to.

As limited as legal instruments may be, I believe we shouldn’t succumb to a buffet of opposing arguments for example, that rights are a “hollow hope” or, that rights “have gone too far” in protecting clients from needed treatment. This only succeeds in obscuring the significance and meaning of dialogue that can occur through tribunals, lower and higher courts particularly for people who are otherwise rendered voiceless.

Read more

Youth and mental health: 2 projects, many members and one amazing group



by Maree Rodriguez, member of the CAMH National Youth Advisory Committee I have some exciting news to share about the CAMH National Youth Advisory Committee (NYAC)! So much has been going on since our first meeting as a group and we are so pumped since we’ve been getting a lot done along the way. We have finally decided on two national anti-stigma campaigns that we plan to share in the near future with you. These are still in the early stages but here goes:

  1.  A “Get to know NYAC” video project. This way, you get introduced to the people behind NYAC who are youth passionate about making a change about mental health.
  2. A call and response. This will be in the form of a ”Selfie” where we will ask for submissions from young people to submit a Selfie and respond to a question about mental health. This idea creates an “Image versus Reality” concept showing that image is not always reality letting the viewer know that you can’t judge a book by its cover. It will hopefully bring up the conversation showing that mental health can affect everyone.

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National Aboriginal Day: Making progress through respectful relationships

National Aboriginal Day has me thinking about the importance of the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada, my own life experiences and the responsibility that we all have in making this country a better place for all those who live here.

Having grown up in Brantford on the traditional territory of the Six Nations of the Grand River, I was well attuned to the cultural divide and broken communications between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

Being just a few kilometers away from a First Nations community did nothing to enhance my knowledge of the rich history and geography – it just wasn’t taught in school.

I didn’t get properly educated until I had the remarkable opportunity in my adult life to work with First Nations communities first-hand.

It was during this time that I learned of the extraordinary impact that relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people have had on the lives of citizens and on the progress of our communities.

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How can we prevent LGBTQ suicide?

by Margaret Robinson, Mi’kmaq feminist scholar working on LGBTQ issues in health

For many of us in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) communities, dealing with depression, anxiety, and occasional suicidal thoughts is just part of the grind.

For some of us, losing our friends to suicide has become a rite of passage.

Recent studies make it clear that suicide rates are high for LGBTQ people, especially bisexual and trans people.

Canadian data from 2003 show that bisexuals are more likely to consider suicide, compared with our straight, gay, and lesbian peers (see: Men’s sexual orientation and health in Canada, and Women’s sexual orientation and health: Results from a Canadian population-based survey).

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