Epidemic of mental health problems in Toronto’s Black community is largely unknown – Liben Gebremikael

From Left: Liben Gebremikael, Faisal Hassan, Laura Mae Lindo and Dr. Rima Berns-McGown

The growing epidemic of mental health problems in Toronto’s Black community is largely unknown and not appropriately addressed.

So said Liben Gebremikael, executive director of TAIBU community health centre in Scarborough, in a recent interview with The Caribbean Camera.

Gebremikael was discussing the significance of Black Mental Day, the first of whicn was observed last Monday.

The City of Toronto has officially proclaimed the first Monday in March as ” a day dedicated to Black mental health.”

TAIBU’s Board President, Celestia Richards, also spoke of the significance of Black Mental Health Day.

“It is long overdue,” she told The Caribbean Camera,.

 ” This proclamation serves as important and necessary first step but we  have only a handful of timely, adequate and culturally appropriate services available to support members of the Black community. 

“Coupled by this challenge, there are tremendous barriers like stigma, denial and mistrust of the healthcare system, creating a need for greater awareness and long-term solutions.”

NDP Black Caucus at the Black Mental Health event

Both Gebremikael  and Richards say they welcome authentic and solution-based conversations about Black mental health with all levels of government across Canada.

Black Mental Health Day 2020 featured a series of community-led events that highlight the need for systemic change and productive dialogue with respect to Black mental health.

To learn more, seek help or support Black mental health, visit www.BlackMentalHealthday.ca