Canadian News

Government of Canada supports mental health programs for Black Canadian youth

Exploring restorative justice and the use of sports to address racism and mental health

MONTRÉAL, Aug. 12, 2021 /CNW/ – Many Canadians struggle with mental health issues, but certain groups of Canadians face unique challenges when it comes to mental health because of racism, discrimination, socio-economic status or social exclusion. As Canadians continue to support public health measures, an unintended consequence has been that 40% of Canadians have reported a decline in their mental health. The Government of Canada remains committed to promoting positive mental health for everyone, particularly during these challenging times because of COVID-19.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced an investment of up to $800,000 in mental health funding for two organizations to promote mental health and wellbeing in our communities, and to address health equity by tackling systemic challenges and barriers faced by Black Canadian youth.

Inspired by Indigenous alternative justice programs, the first project – Justice hoodistique – will develop a program that will offer an alternative and restorative justice program for Black youth aged 12-25 in Montréal accused of a criminal action. The project will also focus on families and close acquaintances of both the accused and victims. The project, while focused on local restorative justice, will be tested for expansion throughout Quebec and Nova Scotia and lessons learned will be shared to model in other jurisdictions across Canada.

Aspire for Higher’s Youth Wellness Program, is a 12-week after school health promotion program in Brampton, Ontario. Over the next two years, a group of youth between the ages of 15 to 34 will be trained as facilitators and mentors. These facilitators will have on-court basketball sessions and in-class learning sessions where they will learn an evidence-based, culturally appropriate curriculum that includes information on mental health using an anti-Black racism lens. The facilitators will then implement the program three times a week to three groups of Black males aged 12 to 14.

SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

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