Monday, June 04, 2018

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Andrew Anthony interviews Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett about their new book on the connection between inequality and mental illness. And Danny Dorling discusses the external (and preventable) causes of many mental health issues:
People working in separate disciplines are coming to the same conclusion: that our social worlds impact on us, they can give us health or cause us harm. As the UN puts it, “mental health policies and services are in crisis—not a crisis of chemical imbalances, but of power imbalances. We need bold political commitments, urgent policy responses and immediate remedial action.” This recent report calls for a shift from biomedical models of mental distress to a more radical, human rights-based approach, acknowledging the impacts of social inequality.

Another recent report published by the British Psychological Society, “The Power Threat Meaning Framework,” looks at the contextual factors which may make us sick. PTM acknowledges power inequalities and the impact of oppression. Being on the wrong side of power can lead to feelings of entrapment, shame and humiliation, as well as a sense of lacking control.

The framework highlights links between “poverty, discrimination and inequality, along with traumas such as abuse and violence, and the resulting emotional distress or troubled behaviour.Adverse childhood experiences have a negative impact on health and wellbeing, for example.

Both The Inner Level and PTM reframe the narrative around why people get sick—refocusing the question from “What’s wrong with this individual?” to “What’s going wrong in this society?”
- Darren Bernhardt talks to Anna Cooper about the futility of trying to deal with homelessness by criminalizing and displacing homeless people, rather than dealing with the underlying causes. And Nick Saul points out that a fair minimum wage goes a long way toward ensuring that people can workers can afford a reasonable standard of living.

- Alex Press writes that the success of teachers' strikes in the U.S. offers an important reminder of the effectiveness of collective action. Mike Konczal comments on the role unions have played in reducing both economic and racial inequality, while Eric Levitz highlights how the labour movement as a whole is the antithesis of a "special interest group" but instead a positive force for the general public. And Gerard Di Trolio previews what workers in Ontario could expect from an NDP government.

- Meanwhile, David Moscrop discusses the no-brainer choice between Doug Ford's circus and the responsible social democracy of Andrea Horwath. And David Bush comments on what's at stake in Ontario's election.

- Finally, Thomas Homer-Dixon and Yonatan Strauch write about the folly of betting Canada's economic future on the hope that humanity will fail to address the existential threat of climate change.

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