Sunday, May 31, 2009

National exposure

So I'm preparing for my trip to Ottawa to speak at and attend a national conference. First there was a mixup of the flight schedule. We had to rebook for an earlier flight so we wouldn't arrive late at night. Then when I picked up my tickets, they had us scheduled to leave the wrong day. So it was sorted out and all is well.

I've spoken at a conference before but the audience this time are occupational therapists from across Canada. I am not an occupational therapist but I'll be talking about collaborative practice of mental health professionals and myself, a receiver of mental health services, on a program evaluation of the Art Studios and my personal journey. Boring? Not at all. I'm going to have slides of my art and have prepared a very inspiring success story about how the 'system' has aided me.

The mental health system doesn't always get praise from their clients. Do I in some way fit the mold based on the philosophy of recovery? Some of the mentally ill fall through the cracks. They may end up homeless or addicted without community supports. Shouldn't the government try harder to alleviate the problems caused by their own mistakes?

I think Riverview Hospital should never have been downsized. I think if there were complaints about institutionalization and a desire to integrate the mentally ill into society, they should have improved the standards of the institution and put more low-cost housing, resources and supervision in place.

We were told we might be interviewed by the media after our presentation. The first time I was interviewed on television was when I made a comment about MP David Emerson crossing the floor from Liberal to Conservative in order to serve in the cabinet. I said, "It's like what flavour is it this week, what flavour is it next week." I spoke to my mother about it and she said that he did a lot of good things while serving as a Conservative to which I replied, "But he ran as a Liberal, mom!"

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