TAIBU Community Health Centre (CHC), in partnership with the City of Toronto, hosted the initial Black Mental Health Day in March of 2020. The main goal of the initiative was to address community’s demand to improve understanding and to initiate action to end anti-Black racism and the negative mental health impact it causes where Black communities live, work, and play.
The event has expanded from a one-day event to a full seven-day/week event. In 2022, TAIBU CHC had evolved in partnership with two additional organizations, Tropicana Community Services and Strides Toronto. In 2023, partnership has expanded to include five additional organizations: Women’s Health in Women’s Hands CHC, Delta Family Resource Centre, Africa Centre, George Hull Centre, Loyan Foundation, and Black Heath Alliance.
Black Mental Health Week starts on the first Monday in the month of March. Black Mental Health Week is designed to support positive mental health of Black communities and individuals by providing alternative ways to support mental health and wellness. This year’s event will work again to amplify the voices of Black communities and bring much-needed awareness to the historical and current effects of systemic, anti-Black racism on mental health and wellness.
This year’s Black Mental Health Week will start on Monday, March 6th and continue until Sunday, March 12th. The theme for Black Mental Health Week 2023 is “Be You, Be Well”. To get to the core of oneself, one must smash all doctrines and dogmas. This year will highlight the aspect of being you, the authentic you. The ‘you’ that is not dictated by society, labels, roles or expectations. It can be difficult to “Be You” when you are not able to live authentically or feel obligated to live up to society’s expectation and standard. With the daily use of social media, it has become extremely harder to do so. This week will be used to bring self-awareness and help channel those inner things that make you, you. There will be panel discussions, workshops, and various programs that will occur throughout the week to highlight the different aspects of wellness.
“Be You, Be Well” will empower Black individuals and communities to grow and thrive in aspiring to create positive wellness experiences for themselves. To feel well means to live well and everyone should have positive mental health and wellness experiences. Wellness is an ongoing journey, and individuals and communities need to be equipped with the skills, resources, and environments to make that process easier.
When you are at peace to “Be You” it allows you to “Be Well”!