Advocacy on the Ground: Addressing Barriers for People with Mental Health Disabilities


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Start Time: 

8:30 AM

End Time: 

10:30 AM

Join two human rights lawyers in an interactive session on reimagining justice and human rights for persons who are experiencing mental health challenges. People with mental health disabilities continue to be marginalized by society and law. They experience many barriers in accessing psycho-social resources, housing, legal representation, appropriate treatment, employment and other services across the life span. These barriers are further complicated when issues of race, culture, ethnicity, gender, class, disability and other intersecting social factors are involved.

As attorneys and community advocates, this workshop is inspired by our legal and community advocacy on behalf of people with mental health disabilities. This interactive workshop draws from empirical research to critique the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and legislation specific to Canada. Through narratives, we address the key themes of “resources” and “access” in case-studies addressing the following: 1) inclusive education, 2) law and aging 3) race, culture and intersecting identities and 4) civil and forensic mental health systems.

There must be adequate resources and meaningful access to these resources in order to address these barriers and actualize the human rights of people with mental health disabilities. Let’s be proactive together! We want to share best practices as well as learn from your experiences.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Ability to use laws, tools and mechanisms to address barriers for people with mental health disabilities;
  2. Increased knowledge in interdisciplinary approaches to addressing barriers for people with mental health disabilities; 
  3. A solid foundation for re-thinking/re-imagining the core concepts engaged in the workshop
Photo: Ruby Dhand

Ruby Dhand is an assistant professor in the faculty of law at Thompson Rivers University. She has been part of test-case litigation teams on major cases in disability law at the Supreme Court and Federal Court. She co-authored the Halsbury Laws of Canada for Mental Health Law and has published articles in law journals such as the Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice. At Thompson Rivers University, she teaches administrative law, health law. and human rights law.

Photo: Margaret Hall

Margaret Isabel Hall is assistant professor, faculty of law, Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia, Canada. Her current tort law research focuses on the intersection between public authority negligence and misfeasance in public office. She is affiliated with the Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative centered at Emory University in Atlanta as an affiliated global faculty member. She is also a fellow/research associate with the Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia at the University of British Columbia.