These organizations focused on the mental health and well-being of Black communities can offer some much-needed support right now.
To say there is so much happening in the world right now is an understatement. This pain, these stories and these experiences are, sadly, not new experiences for Black men and women but with the events of recent weeks and the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, one’s mental health deserves some extra attention right now. To that end, we’ve rounded up eight Black mental health services and organizations across Canada that can help support you and your loved ones.
Black Women in Motion
Founded by Monica Samuel, this Toronto-based organization provides consent and mental health education, advocacy and support for Black women and non-binary people, and survivors of sexual violence. “It is my duty as a community member, more importantly as a black womxn to ensure the well-being, prosperity and advancement of my people, particularly Black womxn. Black womxn have endured the unfathomable – and we are still here,” Samuel writes on the organization’s website.
What’s Up Walk-In
“Racism and mental health are inextricably linked and YES it’s OK to talk about it!” the What’s Up Walk-In wrote in one of its most recent posts. The clinic provides free mental health counselling for children, youths, adults and families across Toronto. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am-7pm. Simply call 1-866-585-6486 to be connected to a counsellor. Click here for more information.
Last week, WellNest Therapy began a fundraiser to support its Black therapists and its Black clients by way of low or no cost mental health services. The goal was $10,000 with a week’s deadline; however, the amount was exceeded within a day. The company is using $10,000 of the $12,569 raised to create a therapy fund that “will allow the Black therapists on our team (Melissa & Alisha) to provide free & timely accessible therapy services to the Black community.” The remaining $2,569 is being donated to Women’s Health in Women’s Hands. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with Black Mental Health Fund in your subject line for more information.
Black Youth Helpline
Originally started in Manitoba, the Black Youth Helpline focuses on community development and support for Black youth across Canada. Its mission is the “primary prevention of social [and] psychological breakdown in communities through a focus on education, health and community development.” Their approach involves professional assessment, parent and family support, and stay-in-school initiatives that assist in building healthy relationships between schools, families and communities. Service in French and other languages is available upon request.
Black Mental Health Canada
The mission of this Mississauga-based organization is to provide low-income at-risk individuals within the Black community access to affordable evidence-based mental health services, and focuses on culturally responsive services, programs and education for Black children and adults.
Project Heal by Black Space Winnipeg
In light of recent events, Black Space Winnipeg—a grassroots organization fostering organic dialogue on everyday experiences of being Black—has re-launched its community support program Project Heal. Due to social distancing guidelines still in effect across Canada, the program is moving to an online platform that aims to provide a safe space for Black folks in Winnipeg who want to work through trauma and focus on developing positive mental health practices.
Across Boundaries focuses on providing equitable, holistic mental health and addiction services for racialized communities in the Greater Toronto Area. It provides a range of mental health services within Anti-Racism/Anti-Black racism and Anti-Oppression frameworks, which address the negative impact of racism and discrimination on mental health and well-being. The organization currently provides services in many languages, including Caribbean dialects, Central and South Asian languages, and African Languages such as Xhosa, Afrikaans, Swahili and Somali.
ArTeMo Project by Africa Centre
The Council for Advancement of African Canadians in Alberta (CAAC), operating as Africa Centre, runs a mental health program known as the ArTeMo project. The program engages diverse Black youth and their families in Edmonton and Calgary to improve the overall mental well-being and empowerment of Black Canadians, including those who identify as LGBTQ2S+.
If you’d like to donate to these or other organizations serving the Black community in Canada, look through our roundup of funds and nonprofit groups here.