This week is Eating Disorders Awareness Week here in Ontario. As one of my proudest accomplishments in my first term as MPP, this week was established in late 2020 through the unanimous support of my Bill 61.
Now in it's third year, this Eating Disorders Awareness Week is themed "Transforming the Narrative from Asks to Action." Because while awareness is a crucial place to start, it can't be the end of our work in ending this disease.
The latest statistics show that 689,000 people across Ontario struggle with eating disorders - a figure that is growing and especially among children and youth. Meanwhile, its mortality rate is the second highest of any mental illness, behind opioid addiction.
To do nothing is not an option. We must invest in public supports, including a substantial increase in publicly funded in-patient treatment beds (AND the staff that provide the care) to meet the growing demand for them. Without this, people are forced to choose between paying tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket for care or face what's called 'death by waitlist'. That's not a choice we should expect anyone to have to make, in a province where equal access to healthcare is our human right.
Myself and the Ontario NDP joined advocates with NEDIC, Sheena's Place, and NIED, among many others, to call on this government to honour this week of awareness with the action it requires.
Read our statement here.
Today's book recommendation comes from Sydney! Sydney recommends Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby. Irby's essay collection tackles physical and mental illness and the attendant costs, music recommendations, Whiteness, small town America, and so much more - all with her signature deadpan humour.
As always, order it to your local bookstore or request it from your favourite Toronto Public Library Branch. Thanks, Sydney!
They're right: public infrastructure must meet the needs of the public it's purported to serve, and we in Toronto are at risk of losing that.
Read the entirety of their statement below and here on their website, and consider amplifying their calls in your own social networks.
As critic for women's issues, I was proud to stand in the legislature in support of naming March endometriosis month of awareness. Raising awareness around endometriosis is an important piece of advocacy work for all folks who menstruate, including transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary community members who have a long history of experiencing inequity in the health care system.
This important film highlights the discrimination experienced by people assigned female at birth and the many social taboos that surround menstruation to this day.
I hope you'll consider joining us in what I'm sure will be a lively and informative discussion!
Come on down to 473 Oakwood Avenue to learn the legacy of local businesses with Black history and heritage!
If you've got a stamp to spare, consider writing an uplifting note to an elder Ontarian to spread a little of our famous Toronto-St. Paul's joy!
See here for more info!
Doors open each Thursday at 5PM and close at 7PM.