Tēnā koutou e te whānau,
This week I gave a presentation on how stigma affects me as a mental health professional with lived experience of mental distress. Sharing my own experiences brought up some feelings of anxiety beforehand, and vulnerability afterwards. These feelings are uncomfortable, but sometimes we need to lean into discomfort in order to live a rich and meaningful life. I know that sharing my experiences has helped other people feel less alone, and has empowered some allies to make changes in their workplaces.
As a queer woman, with experience of mental distress, I have had many experiences of being treated as different, less-than, less-worthy. I have internalised some of those messages. I don’t want to make anyone else feel like that. But I know the reality is that there will be times when I do treat people with less value. I work in the health sector, and research has repeatedly shown that people receive different treatment based on ethnic bias. Māori are less likely to receive screening, early interventions, pain relief… even the time health providers spend in consultations with Māori is less than with non-Māori.
This week is the anniversary of the invasion of Pārihaka. In recent years, there have been significant steps in the healing journey, including a government apology, and compensation. These actions are important. But healing the soul wounds caused by the violent events of our history is inhibited when people are still experiencing the violence of colonisation and racism.
If you have not read Shelley Burne-Field’s essay, the grind of racism (https://e-tangata.co.nz/reflections/the-grind-of-racism/), I urge you to do so. I found it painful and unsettling to read.
What discomfort might we as a community need to lean in to, to enable healing, and to create a society where all are valued.
Ngā mihi aroha, nā
To view the full-e-news click on this link: https://mailchi.mp/555d9efd8fe4/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-3910581?e=[UNIQID]