Conversations around mental health have never been more available and celebrated than they are today.
Not long ago, mental illness was so shrouded in shame and stigma that it was rarely ever discussed. Even within families in the midst of caring for someone struggling, it was standard practice to remain silent out of fear of public shame and ridicule.
That’s not the world we live in today, but elements of shame and stigma still do exist for those living with mental illness. While the conversation has been started and each day we, as society, become more open and honest about the chronic illness that impacts one out of every five people, there are always opportunities to do more.
At a recent family event, I was asked about my job and some of the things I am working on right now. I mentioned the renewal of our Strategic Plan as our current five year Strategic Plan comes to an end on March 31, 2017. He asked me if it was a plan the organization followed or more of a token document that he was used to in his work experience in various executive positions.
My quick answer was yes but the question challenged me to pause and reflect on just how important the Strategic Plan is for Ontario Shores. It sets a clear path for the organization, guides our future directions, identifies our priorities and informs our planning. It inspires change and innovation. Most importantly, it reflects the feedback from staff, patients, families, volunteers, communities, care partners and leaders.
I know we live and work in a time where we are regularly asked to complete surveys or, share our ideas and many people ask – will it make a difference?
I know firsthand that the feedback provided through this process will have a direct impact in how our next Strategic Plan is developed. It is only though feedback that we can address the emerging mental health care needs of our communities. We have already begun meeting with internal and external groups and we are hearing some exciting ideas and common themes for where the organization can go in the years ahead.
Take 10 minutes to share your views by completing our brief survey:
While you may not be directly impacted by mental illness at this moment in time, you may know someone who is or may encounter mental illness in the future. The statistics are alarming. As many as 1 in 5 are affected by mental illness. If you or someone you love is one of almost 3 million people in Ontario affected by mental illness, and turn to Ontario Shores for help, what would you like the organization to be able to do?
I do not think that I can stand to witness the unnecessary ruination of more young lives.
Through this blog I implore Ontario’s decision-makers to reconsider the new legislation that comes into effect in 2017 that compels restaurant chains to prominently display the calorie count of food item on their menu, on their price boards. It is a well-intentioned intervention that will certainly do more harm than good. I also suspect that this new legislation contravenes the Ontarians with Disability Act.
If your intended audience is the restaurant industry, it is true that insisting corporations post nutritional information does encourage the reformulation of food products. However, it is also true that the resulting changes may actually reduce the nutritional quality of the food. If the intended audience is the consumer, the effect of this legislation is once again disappointing. The results of studies examining these types of interventions are quite mixed. Posting calorie content does not predictably improve customer decision-making when it comes time to order. That any good might come of this legislation is unlikely enough that it cannot make up for the harm that will come from this legislation.