We all know it – it has been HOT here in Niagara. For the women and families who come to our shelter doors, the heat is not a question of whether or not you like the summer – a hot day without air conditioning, with limited access to a shower, a place to cool down can be catastrophic for them and their children.
It made our bloggers think about health and poverty – is our health care as universal as we claim it is? Blogger Slavica starts us off on this August’s theme by answering the question of the month: What are barriers to health care?
Our Barriers are NOT Real, They are Simply of Society’s Making
Today, my dad told me that there are no honest people out there. That all they care about is themselves and having money in their pockets. In my almost 20 years of life, I am still hopeful. I still think that there are good people out there but it’s just they are few and far in between.
However, the sad reality is, even if there are good people in this world, we live in world with systemic barriers that privilege the few and disadvantage many. In simple terms, unless you have giant pockets for your boat load of money, you’re screwed.
Even the universal health care system in Canada, which is supposed to be helping us is lacking, especially regarding dental and mental health care. Unless you have good insurance, you have to pay out of pocket.
Students now are more anxious than mental asylum patients in the 1950’s.
Which is ridiculous because students now are more anxious than mental asylum patients in the 1950’s. Teenagers and young adults like myself are falling short of the society’s expectations of us. We can’t keep up with these demands to the point many of us are harming ourselves and doing dangerous things just to keep sane. To relax.
The hidden poor
When we look at the poor population in our society, we have this stereotype that they are all homeless bums that are living on the streets and that they deserved what happened to them. As if somehow it’s their fault but the large majority of the homeless population aren’t living on the streets. They are the hidden poor. Their all around us. They are people we most likely know who could be on the brink of an eviction or simply choose to pay for rent rather than food because they need a roof over their heads more.
These hidden poor are usually people with low income jobs. Jobs that many people in society think are being taken away, but the jobs that these people are working have no benefits, long hours, are manual labour. The jobs that nobody wants. These jobs are usually given to immigrants, people of colour, low educated individuals, really, society’s throwaways.
Stereotypes and health
Based on health care professionals, pre-conceived notions and stereotypes, be it consciously or not, based on a patient’s sex, gender, race, class, ability etc, can determine the health of their patients and the care that they get simply by the way they are treated.
This tends to be with less care, respect, and understanding of their health care needs. They usually aren’t even told of the resources available to them and even if they are, they’re less likely to use them due to issues of systemic racism, sexism, etc.
As Canadians we have always been compared to the States as being nicer but the truth is we are not better. The States are just louder about their systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, ageism, and any other “isms” out there.
The solution is simple. We are all human beings, who deserve equal care. No one person is more important than another.