Keynote Description: This talk begins with an autoethnography of how I came to understand, as a teenager, the conception and treatment of people with mental health issues as a matter of social justice, and not just as an isolated medical problem in need of a cure. I will then discuss how various groups of people (racialized, Indigenous, LGBTQ, women) have been historically treated by Western mental health systems, and raise issues of systemic violence that psychiatric consumer/survivors face in our current political climate. I will briefly discuss provincial and federal approaches on how to deal with people with mental health issues when they come into contact with the criminal justice system. I follow with early findings from the At Home/Chez Soi project, a national research demonstration project that has housed over a thousand participants who were living homeless with mental health issues, and locate housing, individualized and culturally-appropriate care, and poverty-relief as the central (and social justice) solution to decreasing contact with police. I will end with a discussion of some of the activism, advocacy, community action, and academic work that the psychiatric consumer/survivor social movement is currently undertaking in Ontario, and how this community of allies has helped to hinder the discrimination that we often encounter due to difference.
Bio: Jijian Voronka is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies at OISE/University of Toronto, where she holds a CGS SSHRC Doctoral scholarship. Drawing on Anti-colonial, Disability, and Mad Studies, her current research involves an institutional ethnography of how, under what conditions, and to what effect the participation and employment of people with lived experiences of homelessness and mental health issues plays out in a national research demonstration project. She teaches “A History of Madness” at Ryerson University’s School of Disability Studies, and works as a Consumer Research Consultant for the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
The following videos can be found on YouTube are produced by Ryerson for an online course that David Reville teaches called "Mad People's History."
Introducing Mad People's History http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKBFYi6A6pA#t=73
Self Labeling and Identity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxbw7dDMX60
The consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uTbEBPkAAk