The Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) has made a submission regarding the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) human rights and mental health strategy. The OASW notes the importance of addressing the stigma associated with mental health conditions, especially as it relates to the mental health and health care system.
In its submission, the OASW offers several recommendations. First, an increase in training is required for care providers in the area of mental health and addictions, so they may help provide more comprehensive services to individuals in need. Such training should be provided by individuals with lived experience, to both provide first-hand knowledge and to help address discrimination on the part of service providers. A mandatory process for client referrals is also needed, according to the OASW. For instance, when an organization is not able to assist an individual in need, a mechanism should be put in place to ensure that a referral is made elsewhere and the continuity of care is maintained. The authors also recommend increased access to ombudsperson services to enhance all people’s ability to report concerns or complaints of discrimination without fear of loss of service access. Finally, the OHRC is encouraged to work in tandem with existing legislation that protects the rights of people with disabilities, such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act.
See “Response to the Ontario Human Rights Commission: Human Rights and Mental Health Consultation (January 2011),” Ontario Association of Social Workers, March 1, 2011, available at www.oasw.org.
For more information about the OHRC human rights and mental health strategy, visit www.ohrc.on.ca.