Roshnie is a recent university graduate who is trying to figure out the direction she wants to go. Born and raised in Canada, the world is her horizon. She’s hoping to move to Korea next year to teach and further her community involvement. She studied political science and sociology, but wants to move into more of a community or social work field as her heart lies in community development in lower-income neighbourhoods.
With a passion for working to break the structural inequalities that exist in society, Roshnie tells me she has had countless jobs since she started working at 14 and is trying to find a full-time employment. She’s got a real flair for life and it comes through in her words and smile.
As we talk, I can’t help but think about poverty and mental health. On the one hand, people with mental illness often live in poverty. On the other hand, living in poverty can be a serious risk factor for poor health (both physical and mental). (Read more about mental health and poverty). Two sides of the same ugly coin.
Roshnie, like many young university grads, struggle to enter the workforce, and the problem is seriously exacerbated when a person has mental health problems. The reality is that 1 in 5 Canadians have will experience a mental health illness in their lifetime, and we need to work towards stigma reduction. Only 50% of Canadians would discuss with others if they had a mental health problem, versus 72% who would discuss a diagnosis of cancer. Mental health problems, like cancer, is an illness. With people like Roshnie, I am hopeful we can work towards a stigma-free and healthier society.