People accused of crimes have long been allowed to argue their trial was unfair because their lawyer did a lousy job of representing them.
Now, mentally ill Ontarians caught up in legal battles over the right to choose their own medical treatment have the same rights.
This is not an insignificant thing. Time was, women were thought to be too emotional to make important decisions, like casting votes. Ethnic minorities were seen to be lesser-thans undeserving of equal social status. Property ownership was an essential requirement for social participation. Lefties were stigmatized. These barriers have largely been broken down, allowing for greater, inclusive diversity and as a result, more innovation, more opportunity and a stronger society that provides a higher quality of life for everyone.
Our grey matter is still largely a taboo subject - we don't want to talk about it, though it shapes our every thought, our every action. The increased focus of government and civil society on mental health (including mental illness, but more broadly the impact of brain function on every facet of our society) is breaking down this wall, too. Like most major social changes, we will pay attention to the structural transformations ahead, but won't be fully conscious of the shift in societal perception as it happens.
I guarantee we'll be more conscious once it's taken root.
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