Why Acceptance Matters
There is a link between being accepted and social inclusion and health. Discrimination affects how people are treated, their work, school, home, sense of belonging, and their health.
Some groups are at higher risk for poorer health caused by inequities, including:
- English-second language
- Experiencing mental health and/or substance use challenges
Discrimination can lead to:
- Difficulty at school or work
- More stress and anxiety
- Exposure to violence
- Poor mental health
- Higher chance of injury, illness or early death
Social inclusion affects people’s access to basic needs and their ability to take part in society. This involves all of the social and economic conditions and inequities that underlie one’s health such as neighborhood, income, job, opportunities, support network, and other resources. But it also includes people’s involvement in decision-making processes and their access to power and control in their own lives.
Want to Know More?
Acceptance in Northwestern Ontario
In the Northwestern Health Unit Catchment Area
- Only 22% of people said they feel a very strong sense of belonging in their community
- 24% of high school students reported being bullied in the last month
- 36% of students grades 6-8 reported experiences with bullying in the last month
(Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2015/16; COMPASS Survey Results: 2012/13-2016/17; SHAPES Survey Results: 2017)
What Can You Do?
The factors that most influence feeling accepted are beyond a person’s control. Investing in our neighbourhoods and schools, providing secure jobs, good benefits, income, and work conditions, enforcing civil rights laws and creating a society that supports families and children will help make a community more inclusive and healthier.
Important policies to address discrimination and its impact on health include:
- Funding that meets school needs
- Enforcement of anti-discrimination laws and policies
- Housing programs
- Access to public transportation
- Equal access to job opportunities for minorities
- Cultural awareness and acceptance
We need to work together to ensure our communities are welcoming and supportive for all people, where we live, learn, work and play.