NPA Vancouver politician Melissa De Genova, a park board commissioner, publicly shamed and stigmatized her opponent, Vision Vancouver park board commissioner Sarah Blyth, for getting help for ADHD at work while chair of the Vancouver park board (business coaching by a coach with an MBA in Executive Coaching) during a public City of Vancouver park board meeting May 26th 2014.
NPA Vancouver, is the Non Partisan Association, the partisan conservative civic political party in Vancouver, BC, Canada that attempts to pretend that it is not a partisan political party.
Here’s Sarah Blyth’s Facebook post on it, click through to check out the comments on her post, and add your own.
I’m going to describe the stigma that I felt the other night at our Park Board meeting.
I think it is important so that staff, management and public officials can ask for assistance if they need it. I have a few regrets over the past 5 years but I have done my best and I have always put the public first.
About a year ago I asked park board staff for help as I was chairing some contentious meetings. I was offered some coaching. Based on some insecurities that had built up over time from living with ADHD I wanted to make sure I was performing at a high level and not letting the people I serve down.
The coaching was good it helped me pinpoint what I needed to work on and gave me some tools, which in turn gave me confidence.
I would hate to think staff or future Commissioners would not have the opportunity to ask for help to do a better job if they needed it. And that people in General would not be able to seek help to do a better job if they needed it.
At a Public Park Board meeting There were questions asked about expenses related to coaching I received, Commissioner Jasper asked staff to bring to the board any related information and added that chairing the park board is at times a difficult job and that if a commissioner needed help that he thought it was reasonable, he also stated that I was open about having ADHD.
Then Melissa De Genova asked why the governing party would not elect someone capable of doing the job and that she had disabilities too.
As I was leaving Commissioner De Genova proceeded to follow me out the door asking why I was playing the poor me card the disability card for many to hear in dis-belief.
Stigmatizing someone for seeking help for ADHD, or any mental health condition or a workplace problem is unacceptable in this modern age.
Bullying people by shaming and stigmatizing them keeps many people from admitting they have a mental health condition or a problem and seeking diagnosis or treatment or help they need and deserve. It keeps many in the mental health closet. It makes the problem worse and often adds on other problems.
Instead of publicly shaming and stigmatizing people who admit they have a problem and want help, we should support and encourage them to be honest and open to seek help and improve themselves and become more skilled and productive in the workplace.”
Sarah Blyth is the first politician to go public with ADHD in North America while in office. I know for a fact she’s not the only one because I’ve coached others. As a poli sci major & long time politics junkie, I think many politicians have ADHD.
Sarah Blyth also helped to get Vancouver to be the first city in Canada to declare ADHD Awareness Week. @sarahblyth is a single mom who works at a homeless shelter in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Melissa De Genova has two learning disabilities, dyslexia and written output disorder, went to a $20,000 a year + private school for ADHD & Learning Disabilities, Fraser Academy, and is on the City of Vancouver’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee. Melissa is running for city council in November, Sarah is not running again.
NPA Vancouver’s 2 park board commissioners, Melissa De Genova and John Coupar. Photo by BlueAndWhiteArmy
So of ALL people, Melissa De Genova should know better. It’s OK to ask about a politician’s spending. But this is different.
I asked @MelissaDeGenova on twitter if she has ADHD, but while she answered my other questions, she did not answer that question.
NPA Vancouver’s Melissa De Genova shaming and stigmatization of someone for getting help with ADHD at work has been criticized by many people including CADDAC, the Center for ADHD Awareness, Canada and The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities, but she has refused to apologize.
Not a single elected NPA Vancouver politician, NPA executive member, or NPA board of directors member has condemned Melissa De Genova’s remarks or demanded she retract them and apologize.
Do you think what NPA Vancouver politician Melissa De Genova did to her ADHD opponent Sarah Blyth is acceptable behaviour for an elected official?
Shouldn’t BCers demand better?