Self-injury and Canadian Social Institutions
This morning during my commute I read an interesting article that was published yesterday in the Globe and Mail. The author, Margaret Wente, argues that the fentanyl epidemic in Canada (which is now killing 11 Canadians per day) is about more than just seeking for a high, its actually about the pain and trauma that exist in the lives of drug users. Following this, the author reflects upon the idea that the social institutions that we used to rely on in Canada are now under threat. Wente writes:
"Most of our social institutions - the ones that used to offer solace, structure, friendship, and support - are under threat. The churches collapsed a generation ago... Families are in bad shape too...Economic change hits some people hard. Communities disintegrate. We are living in an age where faith, family and community - the pillars that we used to count on - are all eroding".
If what Wente is saying is true, that the social institution known as the church "collapsed" a generation ago, how does this impact, or does it have any impact at all, on people who self-injure?
After pondering this for a few hours, I would argue that faith communities are still alive and kicking, and have a lot to offer self-injurers. The conversation around self-injury is ongoing around the places that I frequent; especially at school as many students may self-injure, or have friends or family members who do. I even saw a poster this week for a study being done at one of the schools in the wider University of Toronto about self-injury practices amongst undergraduates. A parting thought: if the conversation around self-injury is not taking place where you find yourself, maybe you could be brave and start talking about it.