Dear Mr Haines,
I was walking home today when I saw a couple of highly disturbing billboards in front of my local supermarket. Some people may see them as witty- that said, many people will not…
According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, stigmatization is a major barrier preventing people from getting the help they need. So, despite the fact these ads seem harmless, they most certainly aren’t. They perpetuate the negative connotations of mental health issues, and trivialize what to some people is a very serious matter.
Perhaps I’d be less sensitive to these ads if your organization was car dealer, or a furniture warehouse. But, Toronto Hydro is a public utility that is directly owned by the city and the people of Toronto. The province of Ontario spends a lot of time, money and effort working to combat mental health stigmatization, so it seems reckless and irresponsible for Toronto Hydro to be perpetuating it.
I’d like to suggest that you take immediate action to have these billboards removed, and that you publish a public apology to the people of our city. It may also help that your organization engages a sensitivity training programme for the people who were involved in approving this campaign. An accident like this should never happen again.