Out in the Open·Full Episode

Support Systems

We all need a hand from other people now and then. But sometimes, admitting that you require support and showing that you're vulnerable can take a lot of mettle. This week, Piya asks: Why is it so hard to ask for help?

This week, Piya asks: Why is it so hard to ask for help?

Stephanie Land says stigma attached to poverty and receiving social assistance prevented her from seeking financial help when she needed it most for her and her daughter. (Submitted by Stephanie Land)
Listen to the full episode54:00

We all need a hand from other people now and then. But sometimes, admitting that you require support and showing that you're vulnerable can take a lot of mettle. This week, Piya asks: Why is it so hard to ask for help?

Here are the stories from this week's episode...

A mother suspected that a kid might shoot someone. So why didn't she phone the police?

Bellamy Shoffner came upon a group of young black boys while walking in the park. She believed one of them pulled out a gun and she considered calling the police for help. But she was also afraid police might end up shooting one of the boys. Bellamy tells Piya why she's pleased with the decision she ultimately made... even though she holds it was the wrong one.

The promise and pitfalls of assistive technologies for people with visual impairments

Chelsea Mohler is legally blind. She guesses people offer her help upward of 10 times per day – help she most often doesn't need. While she wants to be respectful toward others, she also finds the ongoing offers taxing. And that makes asking for help when she really does need it even more complicated. She speaks with Piya about the assumptions wrapped up in the contract of help, and how a new technology is helping her obtain support on her own terms.

'I had no cushion': The stigma of seeking social assistance as a single mother living in poverty

In her 20s, Stephanie Land left an abusive relationship with her infant daughter in tow. But leaving meant going it alone, and struggling to make money as a house cleaner to support her and her child. She tells Piya how the stigma attached to poverty and receiving social assistance prevented her from seeking financial help when she most needed it... and why she thinks we need to stop vilifying people in the situation she once found herself in.

The difficulty of reaching out for help as a struggling military veteran

In 2013, Robert Praet lost his home in the Calgary flood. He then moved to Ottawa, where he found himself homeless and struggled to seek support from others. He tells Piya why, as a veteran, he thinks it can be hard to ask for help when you need it, particularly of people who haven't served. Since experiencing homelessness, Robert now volunteers for the veterans outreach organization that helped him get back on his feet.

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