Press Release: SRH Week Campaign Connects the Dots between Mental Health and Sexual Health

For immediate release

From 12-16 February, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights (Action Canada) is proud to host Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week (SRH Week), an annual nation-wide campaign that promotes sexual and reproductive health in Canada. This year’s theme is Mind your “Business” and focuses on the intersections between mental health and sexual health.

While campaigns around de-stigmatizing sexual health or mental health are on the rise, these rarely address how they intersect. This year’s SRH Week campaign was created in consultation with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and aims to raise awareness on the many links that are often left out.

For this year’s campaign, Montreal artist Edith Boucher designed a poster, which is free to order on the SRH Week website. More than 4,000 posters have already been mailed out to healthcare providers, public health agencies, schools and non-for-profit organizations across every province and territory in Canada.

SRH Week will launch with a blog from Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam on the stigma around sexually transmitted infections and its impact on mental health. Other features include a podcast discussing mental and sexual health with a registered nurse and a health care advocate, a Public Health Agency of Canada webinar for health care providers, a series of blogposts written by community-based organizations and advocates, local events across the country, and a printable handbook for healthcare professionals looking to provide stigma-free mental and sexual health care.

“The handbook includes information and tips for healthcare providers on how to talk about sexual health and mental health with their patients,” says Prasad, Executive Director for Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. “Stigma, shame, embarrassment, and fear often prevent patients from talking about their mental health and their sexual health, let alone both.”

The guidebook provides communication tips to help healthcare providers foster trust and openness so that their patients/clients can feel comfortable talking about issues related to their mental and sexual health.

“Everyone is entitled to positive and affirming health care that routinely and proactively meets their mental health and sexual health needs and all the ways in which they connect,” adds Prasad “This is one way we can help fill the gap in access to positive and affirming health care.”

To learn more about Sexual and Reproductive Awareness Week, the connections between sexual health and mental health, and to order free posters, visit www.srhweek.ca

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MEDIA CONTACT
Ani Colekessian
613-241-4474 ext 7
ani@actioncanadaSHR.org

SRH Week 2018

SRH Week is a promotional and social media campaign designed to help raise awareness around sexual and reproductive health and highlight resources developed to help improve community health.

This year, the campaign will focus on the intersections between mental health and sexual health, and all the complex ways in which sexual and mental wellness are connected. To this end, we are creating a campaign titled Mind Your “Business” to foster further dialogue around how these two important aspects of health interconnect.

This is important because:

  • In all aspects of our lives, we deserve to be treated as complex full individuals. This means recognizing mental and sexual/reproductive health and wellness as integral to our overall well-being.
  • Mental health and sexual/reproductive health are both important parts of our overall health and do not exist in silos. There is a significant amount of research supporting the many links between mental and sexual/reproductive health.
  • We are entitled to positive and affirming health care that routinely and proactively meets our mental health and sexual/reproductive health needs and all the ways in which they connect.

The campaign will run from February 12th until February 16th, 2018 and will feature:

  • A series of blogposts written by community-based organizations whose work centres on mental and sexual/reproductive health;
  • A resource for health care providers on how to provide care that acknowledges the relationships between mental and sexual wellness in a non-stigmatizing and comprehensive way;
  • A podcast with a health care provider and client discussing what comprehensive and non-stigmatizing mental and sexual/reproductive health care can and should look like;
  • A poster designed by Montreal artist Edith Boucher;
  • A webinar for health care providers and advocates about the 2018 campaign, why it’s important and how to get involved.

All materials will go live on www.srhweek.ca on February 12, 2018. 2018 Posters will be mailed out before the holidays. If you haven’t received free posters in previous years, but would like to, please fill out this short order form.

2017 SRH Week Survey

We want to hear your feedback so we can keep improving our campaign!

Please complete our quick survey and let us know your thoughts (your answers will be anonymous).

Click here to complete the survey

Hey Doctor, why aren’t you prescribing the abortion pill?

The newly available abortion pill (Mifegymiso) is everywhere in the news these days. Based on all the media coverage, you would think the World Health Organization’s “gold-standard” would be widely available, but so far, only a few doctors seem to be offering it. What gives?

The drug is already available and used safely in over 60 countries, and is an effective way to terminate a pregnancy by using medication rather than surgery. It can be used early in a pregnancy (up to 7-weeks gestation in Canada) and is finally available on the Canadian market.

The thing is, many physicians and pharmacists who want to begin prescribing and stocking Mifegymiso don’t know where to locate the training or order the medication. Here’s a handy roadmap for all the doctors and pharmacists looking to provide medical abortion, but simply don’t know where to start.

Are you a physician?

You can access the training here. Click on “Accredited Medical Abortion Training Program” and then “Register Now.”  Fill out the form, and check your email for confirmation. Completing this course will make you eligible to be a Mifegymiso prescriber. Upon completion, you will be asked to enter your physician license number and be contacted by the manufacturer (Celopharma) to order and stock the medication.

Are you a pharmacist?

You can access the training here. Click on “Accredited Medical Abortion Training Program” and then “Register Now”. Fill out the form, and be sure to click the box that says “I am a Pharmacist.” Completing this course will make you eligible to stock Mifegymiso. Upon completion, you will be asked to enter your pharmacist license number and contacted by the manufacturer (Celopharma) to order and stock the medication.

Note: the non-accredited version of the training can also be selected if you do not require or wish to receive Continuing Medical Education credits. The accredited version costs $50.00 and you will receive a certificate upon completion. The non-accredited version is free. Anyone can take the non-accredited version but only practicing physicians and pharmacists will be contacted by Celopharma to order and stock the medication upon completion.

Completing the training will make physicians eligible to dispense Mifegymiso (and stock it, if they wish to do so at their clinics) and pharmacists eligible to dispense Mifegymiso to physicians. For physicians who do not wish to stock the medication at their clinics, or lack the existing infrastructure to do so, they will need to find the nearest clinic or pharmacy that is trained to dispense Mifegymiso and receive it from them.

Start the Conversation

Doctors and pharmacists have been slow to take the training. And those that have are largely existing abortion providers. This is a huge opportunity for existing providers and other physicians, like family doctors, to help close the gap in access to reproductive choice in Canada.

So let’s start the conversation! Ask questions – if you’re a health care provider, talk to your colleagues, if you’re a client/patient, talk to your providers. We’ve got a long way to go until all people in Canada truly have access to all of their pregnancy options but together, we can break down barriers.

Are you a health careprovider? Click here to download the SRH2017 handbook for quick tips on talking about abortion in a non-stigmatizing way.

 

 

Ready for some pillow talk? Open conversation is crucial

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights (Action Canada) Executive Director Sandeep Prasad talks to XFM’s Sarah Cowan about the 2017 SRH Week campaign, what it is and why it’s important.

SRH Week 2017 is just around the corner!

This year, Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week (SRH Week) will take place from February 12-18 with the theme: Ready for some pillow talk?

The 2017 campaign will build on last year’s “What’s Your Relationship Status” campaign by asking health care providers and clients/patients to “start the conversation” for the best possible care.

Open communication between health care providers and clients/patients is crucial to sexual and reproductive health.

On February 12th, we’ll be launching a quick reference book for health care providers and a blog series spotlighting health care providers making a real difference. We’ll be on Facebook and Twitter too! Find us @srhweek or download our social media kit (coming soon!).

The new campaign and material will be available on www.srhweek.ca as of February 12. Can’t wait until then? Check out campaign material from last year!
Of course, any campaign needs strong voices to really make a difference. Help promote sexual and reproductive health this SRH Week by displaying the posters, following @SRHweek on Twitter and Facebook, visiting www.srhweek.ca and helping to spread the word!

Want posters? No problem! If you would like to order copies of the poster, click here and fill out the poster order form. We’ll be happy to send you posters at no charge. For campaign graphics, social media tools, PDF copies of the poster and much more keep visiting www.srhweek.ca!

Now let’s start the conversation!

We want to hear from you!

We’re starting to prepare for Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week 2017 and we want to hear from you! Click here to take our short survey

What’s your relationship status?

by Action Canada Executive Director Sandeep Prasad, originally published in The Huffington Post

Thirteen years ago, February 12th became Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day — an awareness raising campaign launched by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (now Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights).

The idea behind the day was about assisting health care providers (like doctors, nurses, clinicians and their staff) in promoting sexual and reproductive health in a comprehensive way.

Eventually the day became a week long campaign (SRH Week) and joined the online world with a website and social media pages. Each year focused on a different theme — from being able to ask questions about your sexual health to accessing information online and knowing how to “heart your parts.”

Strides were made and we’ve come a long way in the last 13 years but a lot is left to do. To this day, one major factor affecting sexual health is the relationship between health care providers and their clients (which include patients). Positive relationships between clients and providers foster better health outcomes and access to services. And on the flipside, negative relationships and experiences have the opposite effect.

Action Canada, in partnership with CPHA, is leading the 2016 national campaign and spent the last year meeting with community advocates and health care providers across Canada to discuss barriers to accessing quality health care that diverse communities and groups face and how we can work together to break these down.

We heard from a lot of different individuals and communities. Everyone had positive and negative experiences to share with tips and solutions to overcome barriers in accessing sexual health services. As health care professionals, we need to recognize how health intersects with people’s identities, communities and situations. We need to actively take these factors into account and work together to ensure that everyone is provided with the right care at the right time and in a way that is respectful and empowering.

As Canadians, we pride ourselves on our universal health care system. But the reality is that it isn’t reaching everyone. People living with disabilities are often excluded from decision-making when it comes to their health, time and time again sex workers find themselves in situations where their work rather than their health becomes the focus of the conversation, gatekeepers to abortion are spread across our health care system, people living in poverty are turned away, people who use drugs are written off and newcomers and refugees are misunderstood while Indigenous practices are dismissed altogether. On top of it all, racism, fatphobia, homophobia, transphobiaand ageism (among other issues) continue to show up in interactions between clients and those who care for them.

Not every experience is negative and there are lots of great examples of health care providers overcoming stigma and offering their clients the support they need. But unless we work together to build the relationships that foster good health, people and communities across Canada will continue to be left out of the “universal” health care system.

So here is what we are doing about it: under the theme “What’s Your Relationship Status?” this year’s SRH Week campaign offers the tools and information that both health care providers and clients need to build healthy 2-way relationships and to give and receive the best care. It also equips community members and leaders, including health care providers, with tools to enhance local capacity to address what gets in the way of good relationships and to champion a holistic approach to health care. Thewebsite includes the voices of health care providers and advocates as well as rights-holders and communities who continue to face barriers – addressing the issues they face and what health care providers can do to make their practices and their clinics more inclusive and welcoming to a greater diversity of people and communities.

While this year’s SRH Week considers ways for health care providers to be inclusive and welcoming, it also includes information on how to navigate the Internet for accurate sexual health information, how to prepare for your appointments and have those tough conversations with your doctor, your nurse or other health care professionals. There’s information about getting tested for STIs, about your privacyand your human rights. It’s all there – information at your fingertips to assist you in getting the care you need.

And now ask yourself, what’s your relationship status?

To learn more about Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week and the important relationship between health care providers and health care clients, visitwww.srhweek.ca or follow #SRH2016