Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Reconciliation, and Accessibility 

These core concepts and principles are at the heart of an equity-based approach.

Equity – refers to an approach that ensures everyone has access to the same opportunities.

Diversity – is defined as the many ways we are unique and different from one another while distinguishing ourselves as individuals and identifying ourselves as belonging to a group or groups.

Inclusion – refers to the intentional, ongoing efforts and actions to ensure that people with different identities actively participate in all aspects of the work of an organization and/or society.

Reconciliation – is a process of healing relationships that requires public truth sharing, apology, and commemoration that acknowledges and redresses past harm. 

Accessibility – when our environments, services and products and policies are proactively designed and constructed so that people with a disability can fully and equally participate without experiencing barriers.

Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression (ARAO) Principles are guides to identifying, understanding, and taking systemic action against racist and oppressive practices. These principles call for us to take a deep examination of the colonial influences in our system and put robust structures and leadership in place to raise up and support diverse communities. ARAO requires honest, real community engagement, examination of bias and power imbalances, and true valuing of diversity so we can eliminate racism and oppression. 

Couch of H.O.P.E  is committed to advancing equity in our organization, an ongoing process, we are all responsible to engage with. We foster a safe and supportive environment for all through open communication, being approachable, being receptive to feedback, and actively seeking out diverse perspectives.

Our organization has implemented regular feedback mechanisms such as surveys, focus groups and planned conversations to understand people’s experiences, gather insights and identify areas for improvement. We regularly revisit our policies and practices to evaluate effectiveness and to ensure they are inclusive and equitable.

Couch of H.O.P.E recognizes, honours and embraces that all people are different. We are committed to intentionally approaching differences with curiosity and investing time in understanding people’s lived experience, viewpoints, needs, and strengths. We believe that to truly be inclusive and cultivate belonging, we must treat people differently rather than the same.

The Platinum Rule ‘treat others as they wish to be treated’ reminds us to locate our actions within the perspective of the other person, to take the other person’s preference seriously by asking directly. The Platinum Rule is particularly valuable in working toward greater equity, diversity, and inclusion, and practicing cultural humility and allyship.

Couch of H.O.P.E embodies an intersectionality framework, a perspective in which to observe and change the oppressive impacts of racism, ableism, patriarchy, classism etc. We have created and fostered a space to talk about the impacts and experiences of intersecting identities as they relate to mental health. Operating from this lens allows us to truly see the vast array of impacting factors on any one individual.

Other ways in which we have actively brought an equity lens to our work include service experience with under-represented groups through outreach, ongoing EDIRA conversations and training, diverse teaching approaches, community partnerships with diverse and underserviced groups, and creating an anti-oppressive statement that is a living document to be revisited regularly.

Couch of H.O.P.E strives to provide accessible therapy spaces and to provide accommodations, this is an area we continue to work on, to help reduce further barriers for people to access mental health support and our services. 

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