Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture - 2013

Mobilizing Mental Health Advocacy

Thursday, March 28, 2013

We invite everyone to the Barbara Hall keynote at 5pm.
Robert R McEwen Auditorium - Schulich Building

Minds that Matter: Human Rights, Mental Health and Addictions
Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission

Barbara Hall was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Province of Ontario's Human Rights Commission in 2005. She is currently President of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA), a network that brings together Canada's territorial, provincial and federal human rights agencies to protect, promote and advance human rights across the country.

She has more than 40 years of experience as a community worker, lawyer and municipal politician. She served three terms as a Toronto city councillor from 1985 on and as Toronto's mayor from 1994 to 1997. From 1998 to 2002 she headed the Canadian government's National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention.

Ms. Hall has also practised criminal and family law, been a member of the Province of Ontario Health Ministry's Health Results Team, and lectured nationally and internationally on urban and social issues. She has extensive experience on non-profit boards and committees, and has a strong record of bringing diverse groups together to build safe and strong communities.

Opening Address Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture Part I:

Welcome: Vice Dean Kim Michasiw
Introduction to Event: Associate Dean Research Naomi Adelson

Opening Address: Pat Capponi
Canadian author and advocate for mental health issues and poverty issues in Canada

Creating our Own Path, Showing the Way

Pat Capponi is the author of ground breaking book Upstairs in the Crazy House, as well as Dispatches from the Poverty Line, The War at Home, Bound by Duty, Beyond the Crazy House, all from Penguin. And two fiction works, Last Stop Sunnyside, The Corpse Will Keep from HarperCollins. She has been awarded the Order of Ontario, the C.M. Hincks award from CMHA, the Oueen's Golden Jubilee and the Diamond Jubilee medals

Current involvments: Lead Facilitator, Voices From the Street. Co-chair of Mental Health Sub-committee of the Toronto Police Services Board, member of Work-focused Discussion Group (Ministry of Community and Social Services), Steering Committee of Civic Action, Health Council Mid-Toronto West. Founding member of RACI (Resident and Consumer Initiative), a group of psychiatric residents and consumer/survivors who meet monthly in each other's homes. Part time member of the Consent and Capacity Board. Has lived experience of mental illness, poverty, abuse.

Watch video

Q and A: Chaired by Professor Andrea Daley, School of Social Work

Closing Remarks:Associate Dean Research Naomi Adelson

End of Lunch Session. Participants guided to the three parallel sessions.

Parallel Sessions

Session 1 - Mental Health Recovery and Wellness Approaches

Led by Professors Atsuko Matsuoka and Ann Thompson

This workshop consists of several components to address mental health recovery and wellness concepts. We will begin by discussing some key components of mental health recovery, anti-stigma and discrimination work along with Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), an Evidence-Based Practice approach to recovery.

Then we will introduce the audience to an innovative program which utilizes these components to support consumer/survivors achieve success in their lives, especially in the areas of self-help, employment and education.

This program is called PREFER (Peer Recovery Education for Employment and Resilience) and is currently funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation since 2010. You will hear individual success stories and what PREFER participants believe is essential to promote a personal foundation of healing, wellness and recovery as well as learn how to actively participate in creating a better environment for those who experience mental health challenges.

Session 2 - Community Mobilization

Led by Professor Andrea Daley

This workshop will address grassroots/community mobilization initiatives within psychiatric survivor communities. Drawing upon the experiences of community panel members, the workshop will introduce participants to the history of organizing within psychiatric survivor communities and 'how' community organizing happens; contemporary issues addressed by various initiatives including poverty and employment, violence, and alternatives to medical perspectives; and, how mad history and mad identities are being recognized and celebrated. Overall, the workshop will provide participants the opportunity to engage with thought provoking ideas that challenge dominant psychiatric and mental health perspectives and that seek to resist systemic oppressions associated with such perspectives.

Bios and Abstracts

1. Becky McFarlane

Becky McFarlane is a mad-identified activist who is currently working alongside the Atkinson Charitable Foundation exploring community engagement and social inclusion models nationally and internationally. She is particularly interested in models that incorporate training and employment opportunities as core principles. Previously, she was the Co-Director of Working for Change, an organization that develops employment and leadership opportunities for psychiatric consumer/survivors and others who have been marginalized by poverty. She is also enrolled part-time in the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University.


In order to be an effective at organizing and mobilizing within any civil rights context, it is critical to understand where we have been to conceptualize where we are going. This presentation will look at some of successes and challenges of mad organizing and will confront how formal social service models can limit the potential of community mobilization efforts. We will also take up the question 'where do we go from here' in the context of transformative organizing and will look at how we can expand scale, maintain a level of conflict within organizations and institutions, build connections with other social movements, and finally will explore how we can avoid romanticizing potential or exaggerating the limits of mad activism.

2. Tina Shaprio ::: Mad Pride Toronto

Tina Shapiro is one of two Administrative Co-ordinators of Mad Pride Toronto, which brings a fun, empowering event to the Toronto mad community every July. Tina has been active with the mad community since 2005, including with Mad Students Society, the Empowerment Council, and Psychiatric Survivor Archives of Toronto (PSAT). Currently, Tina is the Employment and Income Support Co-ordinator at Sistering, and has also worked and done consulting work for Sound Times Support Services, which is a Consumer/Survivor Initiative (CSI). She also taught Mental Health and Social Work last summer at York University. As well, Tina is a Social Work Research Consultant with her company, Like A Tree Research. Tina has earned a B.A. in philosophy with honours from Vassar College in the U.S., as well as a B.S.W. and M.S.W. from York University. Her M.S.W. was S.S.H.R.C.-funded and was an Institutional Ethnography on the CAMH Bill of Client Rights.


This talk will introduce the audience to Mad Pride Toronto; as well as explore issues of mad identity and mad activism; and examine mad history as it relates to this, our twentieth year of Mad Pride Toronto organizing, with Mad Pride Toronto 2013. 'Mad' is a reclaimed term, and 'mad identity' is used as an umbrella term for many identities, including consumer/survivor, crazy and lunatic (the latter two are also reclaimed terms). The audience is welcome to be interactive and ask questions about Mad Pride Toronto and mad identity.

3. Lucy Costa ::: Memorials, & the Politics of Violence in the Consumer/Psychiatric Survivor Community:

Lucy Costa is a systemic advocate with the Empowerment Council, an organization representing the client voice and civil rights within CAMH. She is Board Vice Chair at Sound Times Support Services and Board Member with ARCH Disability Law Centre. She is a former Board member of the Psychiatric Survivor Archives of Toronto and founder of the Mad Students Society. She has been an advocate for over ten years. Lucy is currently a Masters of Law student at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Abstract: Memorials, & the Politics of Violence in the Consumer/Psychiatric Survivor Community: A Brief Overview.

Efforts to humanize and improve the lives of individuals who have experienced psychiatric distress have garnered much attention from stakeholders including large philanthropic donors such as BELL Canada and others. Never before has mental health received the recognition and commitment as it is right now but in light of this attention, how do we tackle the ongoing and increasing poverty and violence experienced by the most vulnerable in this community? How do we process and understand the numerous police shootings, tasering or institutional deaths or suicides that affect individuals who come into contact with mental health services? Where does research fit in and what evidence is there that legal inquiries or inquests make a difference? This discussion will share an overview of current modes of remembering and responding to violence that (re)emerges in the lives of people with psychiatric disabilities. Remembering and honouring the vulnerable lives lost is important, as are the development of legal frameworks, and knowledge mobilisation so that ultimately we prevent further unnecessary deaths.

4. Jenna Reid ::: Experiences of Psychiatrized Students: Thinking beyond medicalized responses

Jenna Reid has been involved in various ways in the mad community in Toronto since connecting with fellow activists during her undergraduate degree. As a bachelor of social work student, Jenna took personal experiences as a mad student to become knowledgeable about and active in the mad movement. Taking part in groups like the Mad Students Society and completing a school placement at the Empowerment Council she became aware of the collective experiences of discrimination that mad people face. In her Master's research Jenna explored the experiences of mad social work students in a community based participatory research project. Jenna is currently a Doctoral candidate at York University as well as co-teaches a History of Madness in the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University.

Abstract: Experiences of Psychiatrized Students: Thinking beyond medicalized responses.

The issue of mental health on post-secondary campuses has been a major focus as of late. Maclean's magazine claims it to be a "Mental Health Crisis on Campus" (September 5, 2012) – inviting people to join the conversation on Twitter using #brokengeneration. A recent mental health report (put out by Colleges Ontario, Council of Ontario Universities, College Student Alliance and Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance) mentions how the ongoing efforts to effectively deliver mental health services to students on campus are at the forefront for colleges and universities nationwide. What dominates the conversations regarding students' experiences of madness and mental distress are recommendations for creating healthy campuses as well as monitoring and managing high risk and violent behaviours. So what happens when we focus our efforts on these medicalized responses? After briefly reviewing the dominant way in which the post-secondary institutions are responding to madness and mental distress on campuses we will consider how we can conceptualize a new approach; one that considers issues of barriers, access and accommodations while leaving the medical responses out of the conversation.

Session 3 - Conceptualizations of normality/abnormality in mental health

Led by Professor Nick Mulé

This workshop will address the psychiatric and mental health structural and policy context in which notions of 'normality' and 'abnormality' are determined and responded to through service/program development.

Participants will be introduced to the production of mental health knowledge in relation to the creation of Canada's first mental health strategy vis-a vis the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the current context of Ontario's (mental) health policy in relation to LGBTQ communities. With this backdrop, workshop participants will explore how sexuality, gender, race, and childhood are implicated in notions of 'normal' and 'abnormal' within psychiatric and mental health contexts.

In this way, participants will be engaged with considerations of how diversely situated people may experience and be experienced by psychiatric and mental health services. The workshop will draw upon the research-informed knowledges of members of York University's Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies academic community.

Bios and Abstracts

1. Maria Liegghio ::: What is "normal mental health"?: A photo voice perspective of psychiatrized youth.

Maria Liegghio is a Lecturer (tenure stream) in the School of Social Work at York University. She is also completing her doctoral studies in the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. She first graduated as a social worker in 1993 and has clinical practice experience working primarily in mental health with asylum-seekers and new immigrants, adolescent parents, and children, youth, and families. In her most recent roles, she worked as a child protection worker and later as a child and family mental health therapist. As an emerging scholar, her research areas are in children's mental health; critical social work theories, education, and practice; and community-engaged scholarship. Her main area of study is social work epistemology in children's mental health and specifically, the stigma of mental illness in child and youth mental health.

Abstract What is "normal mental health"?: A photo voice perspective of psychiatrized youth.

In this presentation, I offer a critical examination of the ways current models of understanding the stigma of mental illness fail psychiatrized children and youth. Within dominant frameworks, the main social and cultural mechanism defining stigma and stigmatization are the negative values, beliefs, and attitudes (prejudices) associated with "mental illness". Thus, discrimination is understood as the unfair and unjust treatment emerging from and based on the prejudices associated with "having a mental illness". By focusing on "beliefs and attitudes", the issues of prejudice and discrimination are individualized, while broader social, cultural, and institutional mechanisms and practices are overlooked and remain hidden.

In this presentation, I feature the outcomes of a photo voice initiative in which psychiatrized youth answered the question: what was "normal mental health" for children and youth? Emerging from the situated knowledge of youth with lived experience, we observe the various re/productions of not only the "mental health/normal" and "mental illness/abnormal" binary, but numerous other "normal/abnormal" binaries at the intersections of mental health and childhood discourses. I assert that the main oversight of dominant models of understanding is the failure to account for the stigma of mental illness as the re/productions of particular relations of power within child and youth mental health, and more broadly, within society, when aspects of a person's psychology, development, and/or expressions of emotional distress are marked and constructed as "abnormal".

2: Nick Mulé ::: Abnormalization of LGBTQs: A Critical Analysis of the DSM 5 Review

Nick Mulé, PhD, is an associate professor at the School of Social Work at York University, where he has research interests and publishes in the areas of social inclusion/exclusion of gender and sexually diverse populations in social policy and service provision and the degree of their recognition as distinct communities in cultural, systemic and structural contexts. He also undertakes a critical analysis of the LGBTQ social movement and is currently engaged in the development of queer liberation theory.

Additionally, he is researching the regulation of advocacy in the voluntary sector. Nick has been active in health and wellbeing and social justice-based queer activism for many years and is currently the founder and chairperson of the provincial LGBTQ social justice group Queer Ontario. He is also an appointed Co-Chairperson of the Research and Policy Advisory Committee for Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO ) and is a psychotherapist in private practice serving gender and sexually diverse populations in Toronto.

Abstract Abnormalization of LGBTQs: A Critical Analysis of the DSM 5 Review

This research undertaken with Professor Andrea Daley (York University) describes a community-based collaborative response to the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) call for feedback regarding diagnostic criteria revisions for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 (DSM-5) with a particular focus on disorders that impact or potentially impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. We focused on and analyze two diagnostic categories: Gender Dysphoria and Paraphilias from a socio-political perspective centred on social equity for LGBTQ populations. Utilizing a queer critical lens that resists heteronormative and cisgender notions of mental health and well-being in relation to sexuality and gender identity, the subsections on Gender Identity Disorders and the Paraphilias are interrogated based on social constructions of dominant race, sexuality, gender and class notions of 'normal' mental health. We argue that such diagnostic labels contribute to a form of 'abnormalization' discourse within health and social care contexts that serve to support the social inequity, marginalization and oppression of LGBTQ populations. The presentation will:

  • Apply a critical anti-oppressive analysis in deconstructing the white, heterosexual, male, middle class values that inform the sexual and gender identity diagnostic labels outlined in the APA's DSM;
  • Trouble the binary notion of gender throughout the DSM, and the gender identity disorders in particular, and how they contribute to normative notions of rigid gender roles and oppressive structural barriers such as state subsidies or public health insurance coverage;
  • Interrogate the paraphilias as warranting diagnostic status for being what is perceived to be outside of normative sexual activities.
  • Outline a list of recommendations on how the mental health field and psychiatry, in particular, can work with LGBTQ populations in a way that recognizes and empowers gender and sexual diversity.

3. Melanie Carrington ::: Diagnosing Dangerousness, Diagnosing Difference

Melanie Carrington is a Doctoral Candidate in York University's School of Social Work. The focus of her practice and study is the Canadian criminal justice system as she views it as a space in which the punitive response towards marginalized persons in our society is indubitably evident. Melanie has worked for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto and the John Howard Society of Manitoba

Abstract: Diagnosing Dangerousness, Diagnosing Difference,

"…[F]or a long time, the criminal had been no more than the person to whom a crime could be attributed and who could therefore be punished, today, the crime tends to be no more than the event which signals the existence of a dangerous element - that is, more or less dangerous - in the social body" (Foucault, 1978).

This paper will introduce the issue of dangerous offender designation as it taken up in the Canadian context. We will see that its most recent incantation involves what Foucault referred to as "the psychiatrization of criminal danger" (1978); lending to a reliance by judiciary on the outcome of forensic risk assessments in order to make their legal findings.

Blurring the lines between inherent danger and probable risk, this psychiatrization has ultimately lent to a net-widening effect, in which increasing numbers of people are found to meet the latent threshold of irredeemability which the dangerous offender designation connotes.

I will introduce the audience to the domain of actuarial risk assessment as used within this legal domain so as to problematize this mode of constructing dangerousness; with a central focus on its impact on women, racialized persons and persons with mental health concerns.