On Wednesday, January 27th, a campaign promoting inclusion of people with mental illness in opportunities of employment, was launched on social media. Various stakeholders have come forward to support the #wecanwork campaign, by posting images of themselves with a message supporting the cause that people with mental illness are capable of working. The campaign, having taken root at Equals Centre for Promotion of Social Justice, Chennai, has garnered support from all corners of the nation, and from various economic strata as well.
The campaign was launched in response to a recent statement by a Union Cabinet Minister on the Rights of People with Disability Bill. The statement sought to differentiate between the employability of a person with mental illness and a person with mental disability, discrediting the abilities of the former. The voices behind this campaign are seeking to have these statements disregarded, sensing that they may dilute provisions of the proposed bill, which would further alienate people with mental illness.
Moreover, this campaign strives to challenge and break stereotypes, which get reinforced time and time again, as a result of such incidents. The stakeholders who have joined this campaign include people who have employed a person with mental illness, survivors who are successfully employed, activists and social workers, mental health professionals, and even people with other disabilities. The campaign can be viewed here http://wecanwork.tumblr.com/