March 2, 2020 marks the first Black Mental Health Day, set to occur annually on the first Monday in March.
The City Of Toronto recently recognized the day in partnership with TAIBU Community Health Centre to increase awareness, dismantle barriers preventing Black Torontonians from accessing quality supports and services, and to prompt long-term systemic change.
Toronto is rich in diversity; however, Anti-Black racism still pervades through media, interactions with police officers, wage gaps, and in schools with inadequate culturally appropriate supports for Black students.
Black communities are resilient, in part due to the extraordinary and additional efforts needed in order to ensure their own safety and persevere through anti-Black racism. New research correlates the significant impacts of anti-Black racism and the toll is takes on the mental health of Black Torontonians. Despite growing research in this field, Black Torontonians cannot accessibly utilize culturally appropriate mental health services.
Members are encouraged to participate in community-led events that center impacted voices in discussions on addressing mental health in Black communities. Members are also encouraged to:
Unifor is prioritizing mental health awareness and action in all levels of the union’s work, including at the bargaining table, through education, and by tackling issues head-on with policy and decision makers. Unifor advocates for Black Mental Health Days to be recognized across the country.
Unifor strives to end all forms of racism. By acknowledging anti-Black racism and its impact on mental health, we can begin to break the silence, confront the stigma, and increase access to quality and culturally responsive health care.