When a system is failing there are stopgap measures one can put in place to keep it running - albeit much less efficiently than if it had a complete overhaul. We have all kicked various motors or rebooted our computers or pleaded to inanimate objects. Sometimes effective in the short term, but eventually the things that these objects or machines can’t do increase and accumulate and the system fails.Read more
“Sexuality is a part of our humanity and an integral part of who we are as individuals. Good, current curriculum recognizes this and promotes nurturance, understanding, appreciation, knowledge and community.”
In Jane Ledwell’s opinion piece printed in the Guardian on the first anniversary of the #MeToo movement, she asks the question – “what can we do?” One solution she provides is to develop good, sound policy. In light of recent headline news, it is more important than ever to connect the dots and draw the lines between education, awareness and behaviour.Read more
I have learned over a lifetime of personal and professional relationships that suicide and the thought of ending one’s own life is a complex and heartrending experience. I don’t know how many people have shared with me their belief that suicide was a real choice for them - possibly hundreds. A belief that arose from despair and hopelessness.
Responding to suicidal ideation or behaviour in the moment, through initiatives such as Help Lines or peer support, is different than helping people to no longer consider suicide as an option at difficult times in their lives. And this is different again than preventing, or at least reducing the incidence of, suicide in our society as a whole. Or as the final statement in the recently released Suicide Prevention Strategy The Building Blocks of Hope describes it: “make Prince Edward Island safer from suicide”.Read more
Hoping for something does not make it so - a lesson most of us learn early in life when the magical thinking of childhood is lost. Training teachers to deliver curriculum designed to increase knowledge of mental health issues does one specific thing - increases knowledge of mental health issues. A worthy goal in itself, but what does the evidence actually tell us about this program’s ability to support student mental health and wellbeing?Read more
This past week the Speaker of the House ruled against MLAs speaking to the gallery outside of the rails. The rails became a focus again later in the week when courageous MLAs chose to speak of their personal experiences with trauma in the House - and the government listened and responded - yet information obtained directly from Islanders about their experience with mental health, including trauma, was devalued and discounted. Perhaps MLAs need to do less speaking to people outside of the rail and more listening.Read more
Essential Island workers dying at their workplace, doing unpaid job of caring for children
Since January of this year, six young Island women have died in their workplace.
To my knowledge, there has been no investigation by any government agency leading to an identification of the circumstances that led to their deaths, an implementation of - or increase in - safety measures to make the job safer or support for the family members left without a mother, wife, sister, or daughter.
The Island women who died on the job were doing the unpaid and essential work of caring for children; their workplace was the home. They suffered with postnatal (postpartum) depression, which eventually led to their deaths.Read more
Our Health Minister Robert Henderson continues to assure us that there is no mental health crisis on Prince Edward Island.
In June 2015, I had the honour of representing Prince Edward Island as a member of the Canadian Citizen Reference Panel in Ottawa. Alongside the Mental Health Commission of Canada and countless other organizations and individuals too numerous to list, we aided in the creation of a mental health action plan for Canada.
I did my best to represent Prince Edward Island, and the voices of all our communities were well represented, including LGBT communities, Indigenous and First Nations communities, immigrant and refugee communities, our youth, elders, families struggling with mental health/health issues, people living with addictions, professionals working in these areas, families living in poverty, caregivers, our farmers, among others.Read more
It has been a stormy few months on the Island. Someone I spoke to recently likened it to a game of Whack-A-Mole. It’s almost frenetic as Islanders risk being vulnerable and speak up about challenges they have faced with their mental health, or a family member’s mental health, and their experiences in the health system. And as practitioners in health speak out in frustration. And as politicians offer solutions that may calm the storm, but don’t help navigate out of it.Read more
Events on PEI lately have me thinking about bandaids. You know - we’ve all had that experience of being in a hurry, not preparing well or safely, not thinking of possible consequences - the knife slips and we cut a finger. We grab a bandaid, stem the bloody flow and chastise ourselves for being so careless.
But the thing is, more often than not, the bandaid doesn’t stick don’t you find? It gets wet and falls off, it is on an awkward joint and falls off when we use that finger, or it just isn’t good enough quality to stick.