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Guest Post – People with Intellectual Disabilities Face Health Inequality

This guest post was submitted by the Champions for Inclusive Health Stakeholder Coalition. BCEdAccess is proud to be a member of this coalition and we’re sharing this election ask:

Question: Will B.C. election candidates to commit to ending the unacceptable health inequality faced by citizens with intellectual disabilities?

Special Olympics BC has issued a challenge to all candidates in the 2020 provincial election: to end the deadly health inequality experienced by individuals with intellectual disabilities.

From research in other jurisdictions, we know that individuals with intellectual disabilities are dying up to 20 years earlier than the general public. They experience two to three times more preventable hospitalizations, and suffer from dramatically higher rates of obesity, mental illness, over-medication, and poor oral health.

This is not because a person with an intellectual disability is inherently less healthy. It’s because of structural, social, and communication factors that stop them from getting the same level of health care as everyone else. It’s because of things we can and must change.

Special Olympics BC has been working with valued partners in the Champions for Inclusive Health Stakeholder Coalition (including Tracy and BCEdAccess) to understand and address the challenges that create health inequality for individuals with intellectual disabilities. But we need all of B.C.’s elected officials to join us.

We are asking them to commit to working with individuals with intellectual disabilities and their supporters, and help lead the way to essential and lasting change. We hope everyone will contact their local candidates to express the importance of this issue.

On this page you can find the questions we have issued to all candidates. You can also find suggested letters, questions, and social media posts that all citizens can use to reach out to their local candidates.

The voices of individual constituents will be essential to ensure candidates commit to change . We all need to speak together and speak up to show how much people with intellectual disabilities matter throughout our province. The status quo is not acceptable, and we need our politicians to commit to helping solve this complex problem.

People with intellectual disabilities have been facing unacceptable health inequality for their whole lives. Now more than ever, with the added challenges of COVID-19, this needs to change.

Now is the time for the Government of B.C. to lead the way to achieve health equality for people with intellectual disabilities. If you can, reach out to your local candidates and ask for their support on this critical issue.

If you have any questions, feedback, or stories to share, please don’t hesitate to contact SOBC Communications Manager Megan Pollock (megan@specialolympics.bc.ca / 604-737-3077).

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