HLTC02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13&14: Condom, Sexually Transmitted Infection, Flight Attendant

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13 Apr 2012

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Chapter 13-Women’s Voices Matter: Creating Women Centered Mental Health Policy (Marina
In Canada there is still stigma associated with mental illness and the enduring belief that people
with mental illness cannot make sound decisions
Women and Health
Mental health is a ‘gendered concept’ –meaning the very notions of madness, mental illness and
so forth have positioned women as more vulnerable
Gender differences do exist in the rates of specific mental health problems
o Eg women are twice as likely than men to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety,
eating disorders, phobias, panic disorders, and more women even attempt suicide
compared to men
Possible explanation: women are MORE likely to seek out health care services
than men
Research demonstrates that differences between and among women and men is the result of an
interaction between biological and psychosocial factors
o Treatment focuses more on biological factors...leading to biomedically biased mental
health system
PYSCHOSOCIAL explanations examine the ways in which women are more vulnerable to poor
mental health
Poverty and social inequality are also key factors in mental health ---which as we know
disportionaltely affects women
Other possible social explanations of poor mental health in women include: adverse effects of
inferior status, sexual abuse, economic inequalities, discrimination, family burden etc.
Citizen Engagement, the Mental Health System and Women
Citizenship is not just about having citizenship rights ( eg legal, political, civil rights) but it’s also
about the capacity to ‘practice as citizens’(eg contribute to the creation of public services)
Historically women have been excluded from rights and responsibilities of citizenship
Women with mental illness struggle to have their voice heard due to discrimination and stigma
against them
Therefore citizenship for people w/mental illness would allow for their participation in decision
making, policies, practices that affects their lives
Mental health in Canada fall under PROVINCIAL jurisdiction
The degree to which a mental health system is responsive to women depends on 2 things:
o The degree to which governments have made explicit commitments to improve
women’s mental health and
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o The degree to which women who are or have been recipients of mental health care are
active in their citizenship (ie. pushing, lobbying, involved)
Women and Mental Health Policy in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia
Each province has different history when it comes to women’s mental health
o Strong and radical movement of survivors to impact direction of policy
o Although many activists were women, most refused to ally themselves with feminist
o Ontario has the widest range of hospital based specialized programs for women
o Ontario, esp Toronto, has well developed women’s movement and community based
women’s service sector (women’s centers, shelters, rape crisis centers etc)
o The role of the women’s movement in Quebec is very complex
o Heavily fractured and politicized
British Columbia
o Unlike Ontario and Quebec, psychiatric survivors in BC have historically not had a
political voice
o Movement has brought some initiatives but not successful in bringing women’s
concerns to forefront of provincial poverty
o Used to work under 52 regions, switched to 6
o Movement is not as organized as that of Quebec or Ont.
We can see how diverse things are when it comes to women’s mental health
Mental health policy must be guided by a gender-neutral framework and the must take into
account class, race, age, sexual orientation etc.
One thing that is clear from all three provincesthere is lacking government incentive to this
Women Centered Mental Health care: Fostering Meaningful participation for women
The adoption of women-centered care principles might facilitate both a better understanding of
women’s health issues and develop mechanisms that actively engage women in decision making
Also crucial: to address the complexities of women’s lives , be inclusive to diversity (social and
Best tool to recognize diversity amongst women is gender based analysis
Chapter 14
Between Visibility and Vulnerability: Women and HIV/AIDS
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