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Human Rights Day

December 10, 2022

Every December 10, people from all walks of life celebrate Human Rights Day – the anniversary of the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Tremendous progress has been made in the seven decades since this document set down the inalienable rights to which every human being is entitled – regardless of race, color, religion, sex or language. We are reminded, however, that those living with mental health problems and illnesses continue to experience blatant discrimination.

Consider that people living with a mental illness are often shut out of the job market, experience ill treatment by health care providers and, in the most egregious instances, are incarcerated because of behavior brought on by illness, rather than given appropriate treatments. People living with mental illness are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, and they are often released with little to no rehabilitation.

How can you make a difference?

A Practical Toolkit to Help Employers Build an Inclusive Workforce can help human resources (HR) professionals and those with HR, wellness and diversity responsibilities increase accessibility and inclusiveness and address the needs of workers living with mental illness.

In 2019, we launched a multi-year project to better understand the problem of mental health- and substance use-related structural stigma in health-care contexts. Its overarching objective: to identify gaps and reduce stigma, both at policy, practice, and system levels and within the organizational culture of health care. You can deepen your knowledge with our key research, personal experience stories, prototypes, and real-world examples: https://mentalhealthcommission.ca/structural-stigma/

Improving mental health care within justice and corrections may require recognizing that no one stakeholder group has the expertise, resources, and authority to act effectively on their own. Intersectoral collaborations, such as Ontario’s Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committees, are developing promising models. Learn more in our scoping review.


December 10, 2022