Mental Health within Black Communities 

Blackness in the Healthcare system

While the healthcare system is meant to have a standardized level of treatment across the board, like all other infrastructure created within a colonized state, there can be disparities between proper treatment for various marginalized communities, such as the African Diasporic community. This can show up as health providers often not believing the physical pain that Black people experience. This can lead to misdiagnosing illnesses, and under-prescribing pain medication among other things. Aside from physical mistreatment, Black patients feel pressured to act and dress differently to be taken seriously. The distrust between the Black community can lead to the exasperation of pre-existing conditions. Within this context racism and inequity are just as drastic as diseases in terms of their impact on health within the Black community. Black Mental Health Connections believes in improving access to resources and adequate health care for members of the Black community until there is a point when we all have access to culturally safe spaces and equity across the continuum of care.

Mental health is a serious matter for the Montreal Black community.

One in five Canadians experience a mental illness in their lifetime and stigma may be faced by anyone confronting mental health issues. Black Canadians experience additional and considerable challenges, as well as a heightened level of myth and stereotypes, that make members of our community both at higher risk for poor mental health and less likely to be able to access services or receive help.

Black Canadians are:

at higher risk for poor mental health because of negative stereotypes, racism, legacies of historical adversity, socioeconomic status; less likely to receive appropriate help because of the limited availability of competence in multicultural counselling; less likely to seek mental health services, in part because of mistrust in the Canadian healthcare system. In Montreal, finding services and information in English is an added challenge.

Within our community, additional stigma and myths regarding depression and mental illness create barriers to even talking about mental health.

Let’s change the way things are done, together.