I have had a back ground of working with youth at risk, young offenders, those with mental and physical challenges. I grew up with a brother who died at the age of 59 with MS from the young age of 16 years, and my late husband suffered greatly with paranoid schizophrenia which took his life at 27, and an alcoholic father who died form his disease. I know all too well the stigma that comes from being labelled and being treated like someone who does not belong and is made to feel shamed or guilty for illness. This is not the shame or guilt that belongs to the person who is labelled.
Those institutionalized and marginalized by society, because of these particular labels that have been placed upon them, are not being given the respect nor care they need. Many fall between the cracks are placed in locked facilities or don't get the help they need, and their families are left alone, placed in a position of trying to wade through a system that is broken. Things desperately need to change.
When I found out about this group that has existed in Nova Scotia for 25 year and has produced a recent film Freedom Tour by People First Nova Scotia I felt I had to post this on my blog. CBC Radio will be covering this story tomorrow morning, Wednesday May 28th .