Today – Sunday, October 10th – is World Mental Health Day.
According to the World Health Organization, “The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.”
As it would happen, today – on World Mental Health Day – I was walking on the grounds of the former London Asylum for the Insane. The image used for this post is the back of the asylum’s Medical Examination Building. Opened in 1903, the building’s many functions included the assessment of new patients, operating theatres, and a nurses’ residence.
I’m not sure mental health systems (in Canada and beyond) have come all that far in the last 100+ years. Vulnerable people are still being subjected to a myriad of invasive and life-altering interventions presented in the guise of ‘treatment’. The use of coercion is common. And too often, fully informed consent is an ideal rather than a reality. Normal and natural responses to trauma, adversity, oppression, racism, and many other socially created and enabled injustices, inequities, and inequalities, are still being medicalized and pathologized.
I do think we’re moving in the right direction …. but, we’ve still got a long way to go.