When I have time I have been attending the Nova Scotia Human Rights enquiry into the lack of supportive community housing options for people with disabilities. These are the bits and pieces that I learned.
For me, the testimony by Louise Bradley, CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, was one of the highlights of this week’s proceedings at the human rights inquiry. That’s why I was pleased when she was willing to be interviewed. We talk about mental health, the harm of living in an institution, stigma, and the benefits of community living. Louise was at one time heavily involved in the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, and we also talk about the folks there who have been conditionally discharged but can’t get the supportive housing they need. So they just stick around, sometimes for many years.
And another day at the human rights inquiry into the lack of supportive housing for people with disabilities. Two mothers talked about the horrors of institutionalization, in particular the circumstances at Quest in Lower Sackville. Wendy Lill mostly talked about policy issues relating to the disabilities roadmap, a government policy document written at that brief point in time when community advocates had some real hopes that things would get better, only to be disappointed once again.
Today’s update on the NS Human Rights Commission’s enquiry into the lack of supportive housing for people living with disabilities. We learn that their former supportive housing provider wanted the folks languishing at Emerald Hall to come home, and we hear one parent talk about her worries that at some point in time she will no longer be able to take care of her son.
Another day at the NS Human Rights Enquiry into the lack of supportive housing for people with disabilities. We learned that people conditionally discharged from the East Coast Forensic Hospital can’t leave because Community Services cannot provide them with the supportive housing options that they require. Waits can be longer than six years, averages are around 840 days.
I attended day 14 in a lengthy NS Human Rights Commission inquiry into the lack of supportive housing for people who live with disabilities. The main witness was disabilities studies professor Catherine Frazee, and I learned a lot.
February 5th is the first day of a human rights hearing regarding the province’s provision of supportive housing for people with disabilities. We’ve written quite a bit about this topic, going back to the days I wrote for the Halifax Media Co-op. I hope to be there on Monday, and as much as I can during the sessions after that.
Some residents of Emerald Hall,a locked psychiatric ward in the Nova Scotia Hospital, have no reason to be there, except for it being a convenient solution for the province. Their human rights case is crawling along because Community Services is using stalling tactics, a community living advocate charges.
The recent allegations of abuse against Matthew Meisner, a resident of Emerald Hall at the Nova Scotia Hospital, have been widely reported, including by the NS Advocate. We went back and talked with Matthew’s mother to learn more about the string of incidents that keep her awake at night, and how she finds the strength to continue on when most everybody she deals with just wants her to go away.
Matthew Meisner, a young man who spent the last 12 years at a locked down unit within the Nova Scotia Hospital, recently had a pillowcase placed over his head by staff, his mother says. This is only the latest in a series of staff abuse complaints involving Matthew, as the Nova Scotia Advocate reported in March of this year.