This year’s theme, “Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build,” is a celebration of the rich contributions and accomplishments of Black people in Canada, both past and present. It encourages us not only to honour the history but to aspire towards embracing new opportunities for the future.
In 2021, Canada’s Black population stood at 1.5 million, constituting 4.3% of the total population and 16.1% of the racialized population. With projections from Statistics Canada pointing towards a continued growth trajectory, anticipating a Black population of over 3.0 million by 2041, it becomes imperative to address the unique challenges and needs of this community. Black History Month is not only a reminder to honour the past, but also an opportunity to actively support the well-being of our Black communities in the present. Black individuals in Canada are more likely to experience poor self-rated mental health, and those experiencing mental health issues are less likely to use mental health services compared to White Canadians.1 Culturally specific resources created for and delivered by racialized communities and mental health and substance use health care practitioners are needed.
Several organizations across Canada are doing pioneering work in mental health, including: