Illuminating Invisibilities: Working with Women whose Lives have been Impacted by Homelessness, Violence, Mental Health Issues and Substance Use

International Women’s Day Event – March 8, 2013

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The Health Equity Office and Human Resources at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto is hosting a 90 minute International Women’s Day educational event: Illuminating Invisibilities: Working with Women whose Lives have been Impacted by Homelessness, Violence, Mental Health Issues and Substance Use.

The forum will bring together addiction and mental health service providers, allied professionals, community members and women with lived experience to:

  • Identify populations of women that are invisible and have been impacted by homelessness, violence, trauma, mental health issues and substance use including newcomers and women from diverse communities
  • Highlight barriers to access to the mental health, addictions and social service system for women that have been impacted by homelessness, violence, mental health issues and substance use
  • Identify strategies for creating connection with all of these communities of women that are not accessing services

Presenters include:

  • Rani Srivastava, Chief of Nursing and Professional Practice at CAMH – Opening Remarks
  • Eva Scott, Community Outreach Worker, Peer Support Program, Sistering
  • Sheryl Lindsay, Executive Director – Sistering 
  • Mirna Paz, Interpreter, Barbra Schlifer Clinic
  • Amanda Dale, Executive Director, Barbra Schlifer Clinic
  • Ann Pottinger, Discipline Chief, Nursing with Professional Practice and Acting Director of Teaching Excellence and Innovation – Moderator

Eva Scott and Sheryl Lindsay are from Sistering, a women’s agency serving homeless, marginalized and low-income women in Toronto. Mirna Paz and Amanda Dale are from the Barbara Schlifer Clinic in Toronto which offers legal help, counselling and language interpretation to women who have experienced violence.

The event will be held on March 8, 2013 – 11 am to 12:30 pm in Toronto, Ontario. View the flyer here.

For more on homelessness and FASD prevention, see earlier posts:

For more on violence against women and FASD prevention, see recent post:

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign in Carnavon, South Africa

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Thousands of organizations across the world are participating in the 2012 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. The campaign, now in its 22nd year, is organized by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University. The campaign began on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25) and ends on International Human Rights Day (December 10).

While there are a huge number of events and activities being held across South Africa, I was interested to see that the Province of the Northern Cape was hosting an event related to FASD awareness in the community of Carnavon on one of the 16 days.

According to the government press release:

“The preliminary finds of the Balelapa survey indicates that of the 2,045 persons interviewed in Carnavon , 1,523 indicated that they are unemployed and 1,075 indicated that they have no income. Unemployment and poverty are of the contributing factors for substance abuse and the situational analysis indicates that Carnavon is a high risk area for substance abuse.”

I think it’s still exceedingly rare for individuals and governments to make the connections between violence, poverty, substance misuse, and FASD.

Check out this series of stories by Leonie Marinovich on All Africa called South Africa: 16 Stories for 16 Days of Activism.

For more on FASD in South Africa, see earlier posts:

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