Racism And Mental Health Essays
Many Canadians may feel we've made a lot of progress when it comes to talking about mental illness.But I think we need to ask more questions about this progress and who benefits from it.I've struggled with depression since before I was a teenager, before I knew what mental illness was.I was a gregarious, high-performing student, but I would also spend hours lying awake in bed or crying when no one was around. My psychiatrist, a woman of few words who managed my medications, was disappointed by my lack of progress and said it would be best if I committed to full-time hospitalization. I would pull myself together, finish the semester, go to university and stop creating undue concern for my family.My prescriptions and dosages changed daily, and I was accustomed to the nurse quickly riddling off complicated words, but it was unusual for me not to recognize any of them. " "This is what the doctor has requested for you today, Maria," the nurse said."I'm not Maria." Maria was the only other Black woman in the ward.She said I was the most unresponsive patient she ever had.She expressed surprise I hadn't tried to kill myself. I withdrew from my final semester of highschool and was admitted to the hospital in spring 2007. One man in particular would follow me around and tell people I was his girlfriend.
I hid behind books, spoke monosyllabically, looked at the ground. One day, as I was waking up, I turned over in bed and found the man who would follow me standing in my room. I demanded the nurses do something, but I was made to feel I was overreacting.
But at the end of the day, do intentions matter when the ways in which I was vulnerable were overlooked and unacknowledged?
Until we recognize the ways some of us are more vulnerable when it comes to mental illness and poor health interventions, we're not having a meaningful conversation.
His death fuelled debate over implicit bias and the intersection between race and mental health.
(Handout photo) There is more to be done in researching and understanding the ways racism, poverty, sexuality, gender, religion and other identities play a factor when it comes to accessing quality mental health care.