As we embark on the second anniversary of Black Mental Health Day on March 1, 2021, initially recognized by the City of Toronto, Taibu Community Health Center, CAFCAN and Strides Toronto in 2020, we at TDSB also recognize the impact that anti-Black racism has on the mental health of individuals, students and families.
The pandemic, which began at the start of 2020, has drawn global attention to the harsh realities of anti-Black violence, injustices and systemic anti-Black racism. As the pandemic continues into 2021, the impact of such racial traumas and social inequities on the mental health and well-being of Black communities, continues to be highlighted.
The first Monday of March is Black Mental Health Day and we need to acknowledge the deeply rooted impact anti-Black racism has on the emotional well-being of Black communities. We need to recognize and understand that the emotional impact of anti-Black racism is real, present and daily. We know Black mental health, well-being and wellness are adversely impacted by anti-Black racism, which is woven into the fabric of our institutions and systems. We need to be committed to further develop our understanding that racial trauma does lead to exhaustion, distrust of mental health supports and the silencing of Black voices.
Anti-Black racism maintains colonialism and white supremacy in our systems. For members of Black communities, the racial trauma, associated from hate, biases and discrimination, can result in the mistrust of mental health and mental well-being resources and supports. Therefore, our collective work requires us to learn and support the healing of racial trauma, while it also requires us to challenge our biases and assumptions that fuel anti-Black racism.
With this significant impact of anti-Black racism on Black mental health, seeking support from professionals who provide culturally relevant and responsive care, can offer strategies in managing overall personal and professional wellness.
Members of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Committee at the TDSB, along with our colleagues in Professional Support Services, wish to acknowledge the importance of Black Mental Health Day on March 1, 2021.
Not only today, but everyday, we need to recognize the important role that Schools play in discussing how racial trauma impacts the Mental Health and Well-Being of our Black Students and Families. It is through this that we can acknowledge and support meaningful and accessible connections to resources.
We hope to share the links that help build opportunities for greater discussion and how to embed this into our classrooms, hallways and school communities. Please refer to this document
for access to resources available that can be shared throughout the week and as a reference point for starting discussions.
This is by no means the end of the discussion, but rather the beginning of why Black Mental Health in Youth needs to be discussed.