Croakey is excited to be working with El Gibbs, who is today launching a crowd-funding campaign  – #cripcroakey – to fund a series of articles on disability and health.

El brings great insights and expertise and a compelling voice. She has over 15 years experience in the community and not-for-profit sector, working in policy and advocacy on disability and other social issues.

She has written previously for the Sydney Morning Herald, Guardian Australia, ABC RampUp, Crikey and the King’s Tribune. She won the 2015 Gavin Mooney Essay Competition with a strong piece about mental illness and housing and has been a contributor to US magazine Model View Culture on the topic of disability and technology. She also has a blog and tweets @bluntshovels.

See more from El below, or go straight to her #cripcroakey Pozible crowdfunding page, You can hear more about her plans and insights when she tweets for the week from this Sunday 16 August at @wepublichealth.

Please support the project in any way you can: including by donating and spreading the word in your networks about #cripcroakey.


El Gibbs writes:

I’m asking for your support to kick off #cripcroakey, a new series of columns for Croakey that will look  at the intersections of disability and health. The National Disability Strategy counts health and well-being as one of the central parts of the plan to make sure disabled people have the same access to care as the rest of Australia. This includes access to “health services, health promotion and the interaction between health and disability systems; wellbeing and enjoyment of life.”

So what does this mean? Currently, disabled people have some of the worst health statistics with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disabilities among the most disadvantaged people in the country. Intersections of poverty, race, geography, gender and justice  all combine to put people with disability at the bottom of the pile. And for that very reason, their stories are rarely heard.

Disabled people are more likely to live in poverty than other Australians at the same time that they pay the price for having a disability. They are less likely to be in employment, and for some types of disabilities, more likely to be in jail, abused and shut out of the justice system. People with disabilities face many barriers in the existing health system, including accessibility and cost. People with disabilities who live in institutions or group homes are likely to  die 25 years earlier than their non-disabled peers. Up to 90 per cent of women with intellectual disabilities have experienced sexual assault.

With huge changes happening the disability policy space, including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), it’s a good time to look at disability issues from a range of angles. This new model of disability support funding creates new challenges for health professionals, as people with disabilities start to take control of their lives.

The statistics on disability deserve some attention and analysis, as well as a look at some possible policy solutions. I want to pick apart what’s happening with the National Disability Strategy that was meant to underpin government progress on disability issues, but seems to have ground to a halt. I want to have a detailed look at how the NDIS will work for ‘people on the fringe’ – for surely this is the best test of how a policy really stacks up. I want to look at how the health system is tackling the social model of disability, or whether it’s still stuck in the old medical frame (and why that’s not as ludicrous as it sounds!).

But most of all, I want to introduce Croakey readers to the wonderful, wild world of disability politics, policy and people.

This series will be essential reading for people working with disabled people, but also for general health professionals who may not know much about the issues facing people with disabilities. The articles will also be of interest for policy makers keen to improve accessibility and to understand current trends in disability politics.

I bring Croakey readers all this from both a policy wonk and a disabled perspective. I’ve been disabled for most of my life, but have also worked across social policy in the community sector. I was the second winner of the Gavin Mooney Memorial Essay with a look at mental illness and housing, and I’ve written lots of pieces about disability from a range of perspectives – you can catch up with them all here.

I’m asking for your support to write four columns that touch on the themes above. Supporters will get a Twitter shout out, and their name in lights for each column. For those extra keen contributors, I’ll write some exclusive profiles of disabled people you need to get to know,  and unleash some forthright opinions about current issues.

Rewards also include copies of the great magazine spoonful, with thanks to the Arts Health Institute and some very special box sets of the great series, No Limits, a panel show created by and featuring disabled people, generously donated by Disability Media Australia.

I’m aiming to raise $3,000 for four articles on  disability/health related issues. I will be paid $500 per column, Pozible get an admin fee of $250, Croakey gets $650 for moderation, graphic design, editing, hosting and support, and Pat Bowden gets $100 for the fantastic video.

Any money we raise above $3,000 means I can write more articles! So get on board #cripcroakey, and I can get started.

[Crip is a term used by some disabled people, but not all. This is a useful article from the mighty Stella Young about her use of the term.]


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