About Richard-Yves Sitoski
Richard-Yves Sitoski: 50% protruding nail, 50% hammer.
I am an Activist for Mental Health Issues from the peer perspective–that is, from the point of view of someone who lives with mental health issues. My immediate goal is to provide a clearing house and networking node for others who live with emotional and mental health problems.
Not all of us can function at a high level–at least not all of the time–and most of us are hampered by geographical, educational, social, cultural, ideological, economic, physical, intellectual and cognitive issues which can range from the unpleasant yet tolerable to the wholly unendurable. Add stigma–sorry, prejudice!–to the mix and it’s a wonder some of us ever maintain articulacy at all.
What am I doing about it? As an inhabitant of Owen Sound, a medically under-served community in Western Ontario, Canada, I have had to deal with a number of these problems. I do, however, enjoy the benefits of Bulldog tenacity coupled with Jack Russell wit. I can provide a voice for the voiceless, I can provide activism on behalf of the impaired, and best of all, I can push for more grass-roots, bottom-up citizen influence in a top-down, “provider”-based bureaucratic system.
I am a MADvocate. I’m loud and proud. I’m not anti-psychiatry in principle, only in practise: the medical community’s tendency to overpathologize cannot but be considered misguided, and their default response–to wield the blunt instrument of medication–is nothing short of an abdication of responsibility. Sometimes the best therapist is the patient. We’re all in this together. We only have ourselves to work with. Let’s get busy!
Paper Credentials and Community Involvement
I have an M.A. in Classical Studies (Latin and Greek, not Bach and Mozart!) and a Bachelor of Education. I’ve taught at Queen’s University at Kingston and in schools in Grey and Bruce Counties. I have worked as a freelance writer, a pizza maker, a coffee slinger at Tim Horton’s and a produce jockey in a grocery store. I’ve published fiction, have written a chapbook of poetry and I regularly perform at readings here in town.
My community commitments include serving with FOOD Grey Bruce; the Grey Bruce Healthy Communities Partnership; the City of Owen Sound Accessibility Advisory Committee; and assisting with the local United Way’s campaign to Put Food in the Budget.