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Combat the Mental Health Barriers for Black Canadians

Posted on: Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

It’s Black History Month and it is time to recognize the lives of Black Canadians and their resiliency. According to a study, African Americans are 10% more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness and/or experience mental health issues. And why is this significant? The reason is that every individual deserves to have their mental health addressed and looked after. 


There can be stigma related to mental health in some communities and families due to personal, cultural, and/or religious beliefs. There are also barriers to receiving services for Black Canadians, such as living in rural areas, inability to find a professional who considers cultural in their practice, and having accessibility from insurance, benefits, or other economic factors. 


However, there is hope to diminish the stigma of addressing mental health concerns among Black Canadians. There are different ways of ensuring that a mental health professional is suitable, such as asking someone you trust, such as a family doctor or a friend if they know of anyone. When meeting with a professional, it may be useful to ask questions about their practice and cultural competency. The questions can be “have you treated other Black Canadians?”, “have you received training related to cultural competency”, or “how do you see my cultural background influencing our communication?” It can be useful to ask these questions to determine if the professional relationship is compatible or to be referred to someone else who may be a better fit.  


When in crisis, please call the Distress Centre at 403-266-HELP (4357) for immediate assistance. When you are not in a crisis but need assistance with mental health concerns, contact us today for help to follow a new path in your life. 

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