The IMARA Generation Peer Leadership Project is a youth focused & developed, culturally appropriate mental health awareness & support program centering Black youth & families. IMARA is driven by our Youth Advisory Committee (youth aged 15-24 who identify as Black, African, or Caribbean descent) in collaboration with the rest of the IMARA Planning team to develop a mental health toolkit. IMARA has engaged with both parents & faith based leaders, to strengthen mental health capacity by exploring positive parenting, mentorship, the dynamics of faith and mental health, as well as your influence on the mental health of our Black youth.
Our 2 main goals:
- Provide culturally-responsive, Afrocentric, Black mental health peer training
- Spread education and awareness about Black mental health to Black youth within the GTA through peer facilitation
We are not currently equipped to provide any referrals or professional mental health advice. Please visit https://www.taibuchc.ca/en/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You may also refer to and use this tool to find other services within the Greater Toronto Area https://www.pathwaystocare.ca/map .
Black youth are facing challenges to accessing mental health care.
Barriers include :
- longer wait times,
- poor access to practitioners,
- geographical challenges
- financial barriers to care.
- racism and discrimination from providers,
- a lack of available Black professionals in the mental healthcare sector
- a lack of support to provide culturally competent care.
Lack of mental health literacy is problematic because it serves as a barrier to behavioral health intervention, and perhaps most troubling, it perpetuates stigma surrounding mental illness. (Tambling. et a.l, 2021).
70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence.
34% of Ontario high school students indicate a moderate to serious level of psychological distress.
“There is a lack of resources created for the Black community, so this program fills a huge gap – it considers the systemic racism we face every day in school and in society. When I was in the room, I realized others struggled with similar questions I was wondering about for years, and this was where we were finding the answers.”
“I got to hear the lived experiences of others. Learn, connect, and be more empathetic of their wellbeing, their individual challenges, and understand the depths of institutional racism. It’s truly a life changing experience. This experience was education and community beyond anything else offered anywhere else.”
The IMARA project is funded by Public Health Agency of Canada