The Prolonged Effect on Mental Health and Induced Trauma on Vaccine Hesitant Citizens


The Prolonged Effect on Mental Health and Induced Trauma on Vaccine Hesitant Citizens

While the world has been in turmoil since 2020, it has brought to light the impact on mental health in marginalized communities. There is no doubt that the pandemic has carried with it death, sickness, and the requirement for patience; what has yet to be widely addressed, is how hesitance is an inherited result of centuries of trauma.

Spiritual advocacy and understanding tends to be undermined by systems, but looking at the energetic link between citizens’ experiences and views provides more understanding in how what happened to your grandmother impacts you. Granted that even though many reading this are privileged in some way, it is important to consider how past marginalization continues to perpetuate mistrust in the system through (unconscious) bias.

Without touching on the divisiveness too much, it is crucial to comment on the fact that Prime Minister Trudeau has openly taken to the media to scrutinize the vaccine hesitant citizens as “racist,” “extremists,” “anti-science,” “intolerable,” and “the reason for the pandemic.” This is factually untrue. Commentary such as this sparks inherited fear that has been live for generations long. For a country that prides itself on multiculturalism/inclusivity, it recently smells like the exact opposite.

The reason that some hesitance exists, is because of the racism that marginalized groups faced, and the same situations that the government has refused to take proper accountability for.

This does not entirely have to do with the colour of your skin, it is about what you experienced (are continuing to experience), and how that plays into your decision-making.

For example, Indigenous and Black individuals have had vaccine trials done on them in the past, colonization is something that is still going on, genocide took place when governments disagreed with those unlike them, and mental health has not been taken as serious as physical health.

A lot of chronic illness, and sickness, starts from the mind and ends up as a physical symptom. Though this is not absolute, the impact of traumatic events on the people of the world is basically ignored. What this does is create more trauma, name-calling, and mistrust in the system or officials that were appointed to represent the entire community.

As lawyers, we are taught to look at, “the cause and effect” of situations. This was not done to the degree that it should have been, i.e., suicide rates and fentanyl overdoses are at an all-time high. Rather than looking at the root of the problem and building up trust in the system, these same marginalized individuals (like small business owners or workers [who are immigrants]), are told that, “they do not have a right to work unless they comply,” “vaccines are incentives to live a normal life,” or “you do not have a right to justice.”

The goal is to show how reading it from a different lens completely shifts the objective view of those that have either not faced similar trauma, or they are currently in a place or professional privilege to not have to consider it.

As advocates, and lawyers, our goals should include understanding the public at large. Not only is this a public endeavour, but it is also a systemic one too. Organizations, institutions, workplaces, and opportunities have been built upon a narrow understanding which has only been fixed by the bandage of performative activism. To be equitable and inclusive, means understanding experiences, or being educated on them, to the degree that questioning hesitance is not automatically related to being “a bad person.”

Percentages of the same population that is hesitant, or wants a choice, have been misunderstood and subjectified for hundreds of years. The vast goal among those in positions of change, should include adequately addressing how all the above leads to high levels of anxiety and depression. Denying these individuals equitable access to the judicial system without this consideration, only proves that narrative that they do not belong.