In her most recent blog for Qualaxia, a national mental health network, CMHA Ontario policy analyst Sheela Subramanian writes about the value of listening to people with lived experience of mental health issues when tackling complex policy problems. The blog explores how lived experience enhanced the work of one partnership. In its work to better understand how, why and when racialized populations in Ontario use hospital emergency department for mental health and addictions-related reasons, the Community of Interest for Racialized Populations held consultations with people with lived experience of mental health issues and racialization. Findings from the consultations included:
- People consulted indicated that they used the ED much more frequently when experiencing changes related to the social determinants of health, such as loss of stable housing, employment or other sources of income, or decreases in access to health services to do a move to a new city
- Consultation participants shared concerns about experience of use of force within hospital EDs, and could not always distinguish between use of force by police officers and hospital security staff.
- Some individuals shared positive stories about their ED visits and emphasized the role that front-line service providers play in shaping the overall experience
To read the blog, visit the Qualaxia website.