In 2006, a close friend of mine was in a serious car accident. After being in a coma for forty days and staying in the hospital for four months, he returned home with the realization that his life had changed and would never be the same. The severe head trauma caused by the accident has permanently affected his brain. He is now considered a man with a mental disability as his brain injury has disabled him from many activities granted to most individuals. He has gone through many discrimination, not only by some who were close to him in the past, but also through volunteer, education, and work experiences. For example, because he needed some assistance while he was volunteering at at a personal care home, he was asked to come only for occasional visits and withdraw from volunteering weekly. My friend has made me realize many of the lost opportunities that people with mental disabilities face, and has given me new appreciation of those who provide support to individuals with mental disabilities. Social inclusion and mental health states: “People with disabilities make up the world's largest and most disadvantaged minority. Within that group, those with mental disabilities make up the lion's share.” The article accentuates that individuals with mental disabilities are among the most marginalized groups in any society and stigma and discrimination are constant through generations.
I learnt through the classes in our course and in the Mullaly textbook that Social Democracy is a party that supports many beliefs that are beneficial for minorities, which in this blog I put the focus on people with mental disabilities. Some of those views include: the belief in the potentials of humans in supportive environments, human nature as co-operative and consensual, support of primary common or collective good, goal to level out society's social and economic inequalities, support of resources to be used to pursue goals of equality, and belief in equality of condition (Mullaly, p 123).
Statement by New Democrat leader Jack Layton on International Day of Persons with Disabilities calls upon the government of Canada to make a stand and help the 4.4 million Canadians living with disabilities. The NDP recognizes that people with disabilities are expected to withdraw and accept exclusion of Canadian life; and so it makes a stand against these expectations by not accepting the continuation of all people to go without access to needed support. “It is time to build a Canada where all people living with disabilities have full access to all that Canada has to offer, where the necessary support of benefit is available, and where we work together to remove barriers and ensure the full inclusion of all Canadians in our communities” (NDP, 2009). I believe someone with a mental disability in an environment with these beliefs and supports, would highly benefit and progress regardless of his/her disability.
Cobigo, V., Stuart, H. (2010) Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 23(5), Social inclusion and mental health. Kingston, ON: Queen's University. DOI: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e32833bb305
Mullaly, B. (2007). The New Structural Social Work (3rd ed.). Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press Canada.
Jack Layton NDP (2009). Statement by New Democrat leader Jack Layton on International Day of Persons of Disabilities. http://www.ndp.ca/press/statement-by-new-democrat-leader-jack-layton-on-international-day-persons-with-disabilities