Ok, lets talk: A response to the Bell Lets Talk campaign

This post was written by Danielle Landry. She teaches Mad Peoples History as part-time instructor with the School of Disability Studies. It was originally published on Ryerson’s School of Disability blog, Vision Passion Action.

Ok, lets talk.

Lets talk about how those two new workplace scenario commercials only reinforce the idea that its unsafe to talk about mental health to your boss or co-workers, instead of establishing that employers in Ontario actually have a duty to accommodate disabled workers, including those with psychiatric disabilities.

Lets stop positioning disabled people as charity cases through a-nickel-for-every-text campaigns.

Lets talk about the erosion of our social systems through corporate greed.

Lets ask why Bell hasnt instituted any programs to support its low-income customers, such as if they need a reprieve from paying their bills during a hospital stay.

Lets talk about why its not okay that we have to rely on corporate sponsorship to sustain our mental health system. Lets ask if corporate influence serves to deter (or co-opt) the kinds of radical approaches and critical thinking that are essential for challenging the mental health system to improve and innovate.

Lets talk about how were constantly establishing and maintaining divisions between people (labels, diagnoses, categories of who is deserving and undeserving) and how these divisions keep us from working together for change.

Lets question the false dichotomy thats been created and is being perpetuated in the media between those productive citizens with mental health problems and those others diagnosed with serious mental illnesses, and how this is a tactic to divide our community and squash social movement.

Lets talk about how we shouldnt shame ourselves for not achieving all of the things the white upper-middle celebrities whove come out to lead these campaigns have managed to achieve in their overcoming narratives.

Lets acknowledge that our experiences differ based on our various social locations, but lets come together to recognize how we all have a role to play in dismantling all forms of oppression.

Lets talk about the importance of community.

Lets talk about universal access as a standard of living.

Lets talk about our rights.

Lets talk about our collective history and where we need to go from here.

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