Importance of Black Mental Health Week

We are taking time this week to shine a light on Black Mental Health. I would like to take a moment to thank the city of Toronto and all those that came together create Toronto Black Mental Health Week. We are pleased to have the opportunity to raise awareness around Black mental health and share ideas and solutions.

Since 1995, our number one priority is ensuring that Black and racialized communities across Toronto have access to meaningful and appropriate mental health and addictions support. Across Boundaries has been passionate about creating healthy Black futures by creating a safe space where racialized people can find the supports they need for their healing journey.

However, we cannot discuss Black mental health without addressing anti-Black racism. This past year has shown what we as an organization have known all along, anti-Black racism is prevalent in our society and has negative impacts on the health of Black Torontonians.

All too often, due to systemic racism, Black people face barriers to quality health services. These include obstacles ranging from inappropriate treatment methods to providers who impose their values and perspective on populations they know very little about. These barriers often deter Black and racialized people from using mental health services or lead them to defer seeking help until they are in desperate need.

I look forward to a future where we see more voices from racialized and Black communities at decision-making tables in the mental health and addiction care system. I want to make sure that what is crucial for the betterment of their health and well-being is incorporated in all decision-making, especially during the current climate. We need to provide responsive and relevant care based on marginalized communities’ needs and not just the Eurocentric model.

We will continue to work from an anti-oppression framework by providing equitable, holistic services and helping other organizations do the same. Once again, thank you to everyone involved for creating this special week and bringing this opportunity for education and healing to the public.

Aseefa Sarang

Executive Director