I have just been notified that Marlene Carter has experienced another incident of self-injury. It occurred on Thursday, February 4th of last week. Marlene was in the confines of her seclusion cell when she began striking her head on the floor. It had been a long time since her last episode of self-injury (early January 2015). Am I surprised this has happened? Not in the least! What surprises me is the length of time she lasted in seclusion (over 3 months) before she totally mentally collapsed. I expect I would have been banging my head, screaming and climbing the walls after only a month of being forced to endure the type of solitary confinement poor Marlene was subjected to. Make no mistake, seclusion for long periods of time is torture in every sense of the word. Who the hell can emotionally tolerate it for long periods of time? I guess only heroes in books and movies. The rest of us don’t have a chance!
The time has come for new mental health practices to be developed into how our citizens overtaken by mental illness, are treated. Tying them down is not the answer, neither is keeping them in restraints or locking them away in an 8’ x 10’ seclusion room. No one wants to be overcome with a mental illness. No parent wants to see a son or daughter caught in the space of relentless fog and confusion of mental illness. Are we not duty-bound as human beings to treat our citizens suffering in such a way with compassion and understanding? Are we being tested? What will it signal to Creator when no one no longer cares?
I’m not advocating for the coddling and pampering of people whose minds are lost in a whirlwind. I’m only stating a fact: empathy, trust and patience is what will work best in returning victims of mental illness to some kind of existence where a purpose of life for them will be served.
The rally for Marlene begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 11th. Women of the Ottawa community are stepping forward to support a Cree Anishinabe Kwe (Marlene Carter) with drumming and songs. Speeches will be given and our message of “End Seclusion Now” will be heard across this country. We must not let Marlene Carter down. Bring your placard. Make your statement. Make time for this event.
Try to be at the protest site at 1831 Oxford Ave., Brockville by 9:45 a.m. The directions are as follows (from Hwy. 401): Take North Augusta exit, stay on N. Augusta Road until you reach King St. E. Turn left and go straight until Oxford Ave. Turn left and continue to the entrance of the Secure Treatment Unit.
I will be in Brockville early at Winniebee’s Cafe, 23 King St. West at 9 a.m. I’ll see you at the protest site at 9:45 a.m.