February is Black History Month. This year the focus is on health & wellness.
I believe the systems we have in place are inherently racist.
I believe, as a white woman, I have privileges that Black folks don’t have and my privileges are invisible to me.
I am committed to continuing to re-learn about my privileges and about my racist ways.
I still have a lot of work to do.
I know I won’t always get it right.
I will keep trying.
What does this have to do with mental health?
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (Shining a Light) reports that only 38.3% of Black Canadians access mental health care, compared to 50.8% of white Canadians.
The University of Ottawa (Neustater, 2021) found Black Canadians suffer from depression at rates of six times greater than white Canadians.
There are many contributing factors to this complex issue including a history of slavery, systemic oppression, racism, ongoing violence, and inequality. Our Black Communities also experience lower incomes, higher rates of physical health difficulties, and at times different cultural beliefs around mental health than our western dominated pedagogy.
This is a complex issue – however, that doesn’t mean you and I can’t do anything about it. We can all come together, work towards un-learning, live Black Lives Matter, give space to listen and believe members of our Black community and work together for a better future.
If you missed the Instagram Live chat with Magalie Knopf, check it out! She talks all about health and wellness from her own personal experiences.