Backgrounder: Government of Canada supports mental health programs for Black Canadian youth


August 2021

Today's investment of $800,000 in mental health funding from the Government of Canada will help support community-based programs in mental health promotion, to increase health equity and address the underlying determinants of health. This funding will directly help develop and implement culturally focused mental health programs for Black Canadian youth.

The projects are being funded through the Promoting Health Equity: Mental Health of Black Canadians (MHBC) Fund which provides support to community-based organizations for the development of more culturally- focused programming, capacity building and knowledge gathering, to improve the mental health of Black Canadians.

Événement Hoodstock
Montréal QC; $400,000

Inspired by Indigenous restorative justice programs, Justice hoodistique goal is to reduce the over representation of Black Canadian youth in the criminal justice system. Justice hoodistique is targeted towards youth between the ages of 12 and 25 accused of a criminal offence, as well as the victims, family, friends and the wider community.

By including victims, families, and community in the process, the project will provide participants with tools to address the every day challenges they face because of their race, with their mental health, and because of underlying social conditions such as racism and discrimination. Participating in the project will encourage Black youth to reconnect with their culture, understand their identity, explore questions related to systemic discrimination and racism, understand the consequences of their actions, and ultimately increase their self confidence and improve their mental health.

Événement Hoodstock will implement this project in Montréal with the possibility of expanding it across the provinces of Québec and Nova Scotia. They are a community-based organization with the mandate to adapt community initiatives for Black and racialized communities, including youth and their families. The intention of these initiatives is to create a space that eliminates systemic inequalities and develop inclusive, dynamic, and safe communities.

Aspire for Higher
Brampton, ON; $400,000

Aspire for Higher's Youth Wellness Program is a 12-week after school health promotion program in Brampton, Ontario. Over the next two years, the program will engage three groups of 180 young Black males aged 12 to 14 to teach them about mental health using an anti-Black racism lens.

To do this, the program will train a group of youth aged of 15 to 34 to become facilitators and mentors for the younger groups of Black youth. Twice a week, the facilitators will have on-court basketball sessions and in-class learning sessions where they will learn an evidence-based, culturally appropriate curriculum. The facilitators will then implement the program three times a week, once per group. Not only will the younger youth have increased access to consistent and caring adults and mentors, but the facilitators will have increased knowledge of mental health and coping mechanisms, and strengthened leadership skills.

Aspire for Higher is a not for profit grassroots organization who has provided basketball programming for youth in the Greater Toronto Area since 2013. Their mandate is to engage children and youth from all communities with an emphasis on serving racialized Black communities through participation in year round comprehensive programming and activities (education, athletics, mentorship, recreation, mental wellness).

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