Accessible Widget

May 13, 2022

1-minute message about mental wellness

1-minute message about mental wellness

Alternative text

Mental health is every day (Image of a seagull in a sunset sky with words scrolling around in half circle)

It is not a one size fits all. (image of seagull  flying across a sunset sky with the words moving around the bird in a half circle)

I want people to know there is other thought processes with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, It is not just about washing hands. (image of a white female in their 30s with brown hair, white skin, dark red sweater looking outside of a window on a rainy day)

It seems so real, so I would do strange behaviour to feel safe. People may not understand all the parts of OCD. (Image of a young adult sitting on a box,  silhouette, sitting alone in the dark)

It is not just about getting over it and move on. We deal with it every second day of the day. (Image on a dark blue background with a yellow square and yellow ball moving around the square clockwise)

I don't have the flu.
our struggles with the healthcare system are real,  especially trauma. 
I am lonely.  I want to be accepted as I am. (Image - Person in black and white holding a hand to their forehead). 

The systems are designed for people to fit a cookie-cutter program. People are complicated.
We are turned down because multiple disabilities are not covered. (Image - dark photo in black and white female holding in their 40s a hand to their forehead).

A lot of mental health programs continue with online services only. 
Human-to-human services contact is zero. (Image: long red hair white female in her 30s wearing a creamy casual outfit leaning on a post gazing near their feet). 

Listen. Learn. Mental health affects a lot of good people. 
Take a course. Watch a film. 
(Image- a black female in their 30s smiling, holding white baby's breath and smiling). 

Ask politicians to fulfill the promises for improved mental health. (Image- microphones at a podium).

A message from the members of the Disability Action Hall. (Image - white desk with felts and markers, with a cut-out drawing of a head with brain and the handwritten words in black pen says 'mental health' surrounded by smaller handwritten words in rainbow colours saying 'optimism, emotions, hope, love, best, control, positive, psychology, life, mood.)

Mental Health messaging by Disability Action Hall

March 18, 2022

Access: Communities need to be accessible all year long

Last week members of the Disability Action Hall talked about the need for accessible communities all year long. The City of Calgary is currently asking people to provide input into the snow and ice removal strategy until March 25th, 2022. Link to survey. 

Here is what people said about snow removal, active transportation, and shared spaces like pathways and how it affects our use of public transit.

Snow and Ice Removal 

"Ice sometimes has an attitude." - Angie

Hand drawn image of a person with a sailor hat and small boat looking a running stream instead of a sidwalk. Sad expression trying to get groceries.
Sometimes you need a boat to get up the uncleared sidewalk

Lloyd is a full-time transit user in NE Calgary and walks everywhere. Lloyd is growing concerned about how frequently the sidewalks are shoveled and maintained especially around high-use transit routes. Lloyd happens to live at the bottom of the hill and notices people have a hard time wading through water and ice.  “Accessibility is important, especially for people using sidewalks. If you need a boat to go up the sidewalk, then there is no way you can get up the sidewalk.” 
Two people using mobile devices look frustrated a a large piece of ice in a sidwalk
Ice especially in April or May, I will likely fall

Not removing snow creates barriers to getting out and attending critical health appointments. Amy who relies on friends and family to help her walk safely in the winter says “Ensuring sidewalks are better cleared so people with disabilities can safely walk around, such as in April or May I will undoubtedly slip and fall. I went to an appointment with my dad yesterday and had to walk in the street around a huge patch of ice and people with assistive devices would not be able to use the sidewalk the way they need to.”

AJ lives in NW Calgary and talks about the long-lasting impact for people with disabilities when sidewalks are not cleared. In one outing a poorly cleared sidewalk damaged their wheelchair (a repair not easy to repair living on a fixed income). "Back in December my partner was trying to push me up a snowy hill and my partner fell, and my caster was bent and now goes to the left." 

Close up bent caster on wheelchair
Bent caster on my wheelchair from an uncleared sidewalk

Alison who uses a wheelchair and lives in SW Calgary says - “The ice and the snow, getting around in the wintertime is treacherous. ” Angie adds “In front of my house there is a massive piece of ice and almost fell over backward."

Sidewalk and pathway maintenance all year round

Parks and pathways have been the spaces many people have tried to get to during the pandemic. Kristen also uses a motorized chair and accessible transit. She would like to get outside more but is reliant on others to get to places and says “When it is cold outside, and it would be great to think about these spaces during the winter when it is cold outside as spaces for everyone.”

Person in a motorized chair sitting outside in a blizzard looking very cold
We need to think about cleared pathways all year round 

Lloyd talks about the trip hazards when sidewalks are in place beyond their life cycle and how unsafe they may become and says,  “The City knows the sidewalks are 20 years old it would be nice the sidewalks are now in the ground, three inches below the ground are not safe. Every 20 years, they should check the sidewalks are in decent shape and wheelchair accessible. For sure the one on Edmonton Trail NE is not accessible.”

Close up of a persons foot on a sidewalk unsafely below the level of the ground
Old sidewalks three inches below the ground are not ok.

Win-rows and respect how people use public space safely

Alex also lives in NW Calgary says transit, roads sidewalks are connected by win-rows that impact how easy they are to use. Winrows cause a big problem as its not roads, its not pathways or transit, but it can be a big mountain that affects the use of all three. We need to raise awareness of invisible disabilities even on pathways and how we all have different levels of when we know when a pathway or sidewalk is safe to use. 

Sidewalks near busy public transit use areas need to be a priority.  We need to look at ways of making bus shelters a nice warm space to wait. “Sidewalks should be wide enough so people in mobility devices can pass each other comfortably and be so darn cold outside there need to be more shelters with heaters around to keep people warm.”

Person in a wheelchair sitting in a bus shelter with a heater. The sidewalks, win rows and roads are clear around the shelter.
Win rows affect transit, roads, and sidewalks.
We need bus shelters to keep people warm.

“The sidewalks and transit routes need to be more accessible. As well, my experiences with transit and my physical disability are getting worse even. When I sat in the priority seating as a 20-year-old, I faced a lot of stares, but the second I got a cane, my physical disability became physical, and people were sympathetic.”

Person looking uncomfortable sitting in the assigned seating area despite they have a disability
Facing stares on the bus when disability is not visible

Active Transportation & Shared Pathways

Amy has a hard time hearing and seeing and says “People who ride bikes on the sidewalk, sharing spaces especially when it is narrow and have enough space to get by especially when I have a mobility issue. There need to be bike lanes and wider sidewalks, so people have more space.”

A busy pathway in the city where a dog walker, a person using a walked and a person using the scooter give each other enough space to pass safely.
Pathways need to be wide enough for everyone to enjoy

Rural Communities need to be accessible too

Angie says accessibility is not just the cities. Many people in large and small centers have no choice but to use the road with cars due to no accessible sidewalks. “High River is a place of 15,000 people and Okotoks, these smaller towns are growing enormously fast where there are no bike lanes. Only the Farmers Market is accessible but there are other places people need access to. We are on our bikes and scooters and then we have people who drive right up beside us. We have to wear reflective tape and carry flags for safety. Some drivers are not so understanding and we do not always feel safe.” 

Person with a walker looks scared sharing road with a big diesel truck
When there is no safe sidewalk, you have no choice but to use the road

February 18, 2022

You do you! Gender Wellness

 We want to share this quick video about gender wellness titled "You do you!" as part of a "Love is for Everyone" campaign launched by the Calgary Alternative Services and Supports" (CASS). There is no audio, only music. 

Alternative Description for a 28-second video

1st screen: Pastel coloured balloons and abstract shapes fill the white background with hand drawn cartoons of three hand-drawn figures smiling and standing, each wearing different clothing, 1st figure has dark hair, a green t-shirt, long black tight shorts, green shoes and tanned skin. the second figure has dark hair, a beard, a black t-shirt, a pink tutu, and holding green/pink/blue striped gender diversity flags, their skin is tanned, and wearing blue boots. The third figure has short wavy dark hair, a blue t-shirt, short shorts, pink shoes and is also holding a pink green, blue striped gender diversity flag. The burgundy text on the screen says "Love is for all" and below the figures, it has a hashtag that says #Genderwellness in dark navy text.

2nd screen: Colorful pastels of the rainbow in the shapes of balloons and circle shapes white background with two portraits. The First-person is smiling on the left has short red wavy hair, white skin, dark-framed glasses, wearing a light sweatshirt, they are also holding out their left hand in a peace sign.  The second person has light brown short hair and smiling. The yellow text below reads "Us being us.

3rd screen: Colorful pastels of the rainbow in the shapes of balloons and circle shapes white background with two portraits. The first person on the left is smiling and has short reddish/brown straight styled very short hair on one side, spikey hair on the other side, white skin, dark glasses and is wearing a brown shirt. The second person on the right is smiling, has white skin, medium brown straight hair, a dark shirt, and is wearing a black headset and 3D eyeglasses (one red lens and one teal lens).  The yellow text above says "Right to Love."

4th screen: Colorful pastels of the rainbow in the shapes of balloons and circle shapes white background with two portraits. The first person smiling on the left has dark short brown hair and is wearing round sunglasses. The second person on the right is wearing a black fedora hat and a black mask that covers their eyes, they have white skin and wearing a dark shirt. 

5th screen: Colorful pastels of the rainbow in the shapes of balloons and circle shapes white background with two portraits. The first person on the left is smiling wearing a red kerchief tied in a bow on their head, white skin, dark eyeglasses, and a dark shirt. The second person is smiling, has medium coloured skin, wearing eyeglasses with one without a lens, one with a dark lens with a white lens flare above their head, wearing a white and black camoed patterned shirt. The yellow text below them reads "Us being us."

6th screen: Colorful pastels of the rainbow in the shapes of balloons and circle shape white background with one figure on the left wearing a red beret, smiling and they have white skin, hair is tied up in a ponytail and wearing a short v necked grey shirt.  The burgundy text above them is a hashtag that reads #genderwellness and in dark grey text another hashtag that reads #youdoyou

February 2, 2022

Join us February 10th to talk about "Love, Sex, Gender Wellness and Disability"

Join us on Thursday, February 10th from 6 pm to 8 pm (MST time ) to talk about  the right to love and be loved as told by individuals with disabilities and allies.

We will have some short films, journalism, lively talk, and a chance to meet people as we talk about 'Love, Sex, Gender Wellness & Disability" as well as learn about some upcoming courses, resources to address the challenges of the right to love in 2022.

This talk was brought to you by a collaboration between The Centre for Sexuality, Disability Action Hall, The Right to Love Group and the Women's Resource Centre at the University of Calgary and is part of "Sex and Gender Wellness" week. 

Please register on zoom

Link to download the poster (PDF)

Disability gender wellness talk by Disability Action Hall

January 4, 2022

Happy New Year from us and 2021 highlights in less than a minute!

Members of the Disability Action Hall wish you "Happy 2022!" 

Here are just some of the highlights Hall members were up to from 2021,  Bring on 2022! (click on the video, plain text is below)

Sharing our voice - Supporting essential workers and fighting for better oversight for supportive roommate models.
Protecting services - We are resilient and speaking up for Albertans with disabilities & services.
Disability Pride - Being part of this group celebrating disability pride made me realize I am proud.
Confidence and connection - Public speaking and meeting new people.
Celebrate Access - including everyone and addressing food security.
Maintaining relationships - Celebrating what makes us unique.
Networking and meeting new people - Meeting online helped me meet new people and connect with friends every week.
Showing what we do - Making videos about being proud to be disabled.
Valued and supported - Having a place where my opinion is valued.
Community - We are growing, we are having fun working together that we don't want to leave the conversation.
Working with youth - Working with the University creating messaging using a disability lens.
Collaboration - Working with the disability workers talking about essential services and keeping good workers.
Welcoming community - I don't think I've ever felt so safe and welcome in a group before.
Advocacy - We are glad that there is a group that advocates for people with disabilities, to governments at various levels, for improved programs for us.