Federal boost for mental health supports announced

A new funding stream will benefit Black Canadians living with mental health challenges, the federal government announced Tuesday. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor made the announcement about the new program, funded under the Promoting Health Equity: Mental Health of Black Canadians Fund, during a press conference held at the Cassie Campbell Community Centre in Brampton. The projects being funded under the new program will help creative new health support structures for Black youths, as well as create positive, supportive environments to foster better mental health. “Black Canadian communities face unique challenges when it comes to maintaining positive mental health and accessing appropriate supports,” Taylor said during the conference. $10 million (of a total $19 million commitment from the feds) will go to various projects through the fund, which will be delivered through two funding streams. The Incubator Stream will provide short-term funding for capacity-building activities, for the purpose of enabling the design, development, implementation and evaluation of projects that promote mental health and address its determinants in Black Canadian communities. All five of the announced projects, which include initiatives in the Maritimes, Ontario and British Columbia, are being funded through the Incubator Stream. One of the funded projects is also homegrown — Aspire for Higher Elite Basketball, based out of Brampton, will receive $75,000 for a mental health initiative curriculum and evaluation plan development. The new mental health curriculum will be developed in consultation with mental health professionals, education professionals, child welfare organizations, and other partners and organizations. This project will offer targeted support to Black youth, particularly males, living in the city. The Implementation Stream, which was also announced at the press conference, will provide funding for community-based projects that are ready to be implemented to better promote mental health and address its determinants for Black Canadians. “We know that the impact of mental illness is disproportionate, especially for Black Canadians,” Taylor said in a statement after the event, “in particular due to discrimination & anti-Black racism.”

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Surjit Singh Flora
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