The non-profit Empowerment Council and Psychiatric Disabilities Anti-Violence Coalition based in Toronto, Canada have announced the launch of a study into prejudice, hatred and violence directed against people with mental health issues. As part of the study, they are seeking input from the public.
“People with mental health issues are more likely to be the victims of violence. We know this,” wrote Empowerment Council advocate Lucy Costa in a blog post announcing the study. “However, given the propensity of violence experienced in so many ways (some obvious and some not visible), an important question emerged for us: Why is there no framework for discussing the volume of violence experienced by this historically disadvantaged group of citizens?”
Although situated in Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Empowerment Council states that its membership, board and staff are all current or ex-clients of mental health or addiction services. The Psychiatric Disabilities Anti-Violence Coalition describes itself as “a group of psychiatric survivors, mental health advocates, workers, community members, and researchers”.
“We do not discuss this disdain for people with psychiatric disabilities, particularly the most vulnerable who are poor and ‘don’t fit in’. We talk ‘around it’ — for example, when we discuss how people are excluded from our neighborhoods, restaurants, shopping malls, or events. But, what motivates this exclusion? When is it fear and when is it hatred?” continued Costa in her post. “This topic of violence is broad and complex but we felt it was time to delve into the kinds of violence experienced on a daily basis, including the scope of understanding about this violence from consumer/survivors, and how people make sense of violent events that occur in their lives.”
Costa also discussed the violence that occurs in psychiatric facilities. “Is ‘more training’ the best response? Why is this the most often sought narrative and remedy for intervention? Do we need something else?”
“We would love your help and feedback,” concluded Costa. “Do you have suggestions about what would assist in having a better understanding of the violence people experience in their lives?”
Comments can be submitted below the post.
A closer look at violence in the lives of people with mental health issues (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health blog, January 19, 2015)