Black Mental Health Day is celebrated annually on the first Monday of March. The Day was created in 2020 by the City of Toronto in partnership with TAIBU Community Health Centre to raise awareness about the impacts of anti-Black racism on mental health in Toronto’s Black communities and to encourage systemic change.
Racial inequalities, anti-Black racism, and discrimination have lasting effects that negatively impact the mental health and physical well-being of Black communities. In June 2020, the City of Toronto Board of Health recognized anti-Black racism as a public health crisis and affirmed their commitment to addressing the social determinants of health and inequalities by supporting policies and programs. The systemic nature of anti-Black racism and discrimination impacts the ability of Black community members to access to education, legal services, employment and housing, which in turn affect mental health. The disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Black racism, and racial injustice continue to negatively affect Black communities everywhere.
The University of Toronto condemns all forms of anti-Black racism and recognizes the impact it has on the physical and mental health of Black communities. We are committed to proactive and responsive initiatives and wellness supports that address racism and support the health and well-being of our Black community members. The University is appreciative of the initiatives and learning forums led by members of the University community, including the contributions of Dr. Onye Nnorom and Dr. Maydianne Andrade through their podcasts, Race, Health & Happiness and The New Normal respectively, and the recently announced Black Health Matters project led by Dr. Roberta Timothy to collect data on the impact of COVID-19 on Black individuals and communities.
In 2020 the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO) partnered with the Hill Studio’s Restore Program. Restore @ U of T provides a space for the U of T community to respond to the impacts of racism through restorative activities and dialogue that focuses on anti-Black racism. The Restore program facilitated the establishment of community-based spaces that center the intersectional racialized identities of students, staff, faculty, and librarians at the University of Toronto. The University remains committed to fostering an inclusive environment and sense of belonging.
At the University of Toronto, the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion offices at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the University of Toronto Mississauga, and partners across our three campuses are leading ongoing initiatives that address well-being and mental health supports for our Black, Indigenous, and racialized community members. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you need support.
Additional supports for staff, faculty, and librarians are available through the University of Toronto Wellness Hub and through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). EFAP is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Additional supports for students are available through the Student Life Health and Wellness programs for Mental Health and the U of T My Student Support Program (U of T My SSP). U of T My SSP is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the app or call.
(Outside of North America) 001-416-380-6578