By Katherine Blakeslee
The New England ADA celebrated the 26th Annivesary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Oryx Cohen and his presentation on Hope, Healing and the ADA: New Perceptions on Mental Health on Tuesday, August 9 at the Institute for Human Center Design’s headquarters. The event brought in 60 attendees, a diverse mix of lawyers, individuals and service providers. We had ice cream and cake to top it all off. Oryx’s talk challenged us to be even more inclusive of diversity labels, saying “labels are for jars.” He reminded us of how far we have come in terms of disability rights, but still how far we need to go specifically with mental health inclusion. The attendees even got a peek of the documentary film, Healing Voices, which Oryx is both a Co-Producer and featured in the film.
Some of the key takeways from Oryx’s presentation are we should not put humans into catergories. We need to value every voice, and everyone’s civil rights under the ADA should be protected especially for people with a spectrum of behavioral health issues! We need to tear down the misconceptions about mental health and build understanding and knowledge about the ADA’s assurances of inclusion.
Don’t worry if you were not able to attend. We will have a video highlighting the presentation that will be captioned and shared on our website soon. For more information on Oryx, take a look at the blog post I wrote back in May during Mental Health Awareness month.
If you want to watch the documentary film Healing Voices, Disability Law Center, Inc. is sponsoring a screening and discussion on Tuesday, August 16 at the Kendall Square Cinema. Doors open at 6:00pm and screening starts at 6:30pm. You can register online at the following link: https://www.dlc-ma.org/_conf2/register.asp
If you are still asking yourself how you can become more involved, then reform the policy for mental health. Take a look at the campaign: https://realmhchange.org/. Also, become certified in Emotional CPR to help assist people who are going through an emotional crisis.