Multi-year strategy to address anti-Black racism and mental health

By Lincoln DePradine

Tana Turner

Preparatory work is being done ahead of the start of consultations that will lead to the development of a multi-year strategy to address anti-Black racism, which often has been cited in mental health service delivery to people of African descent.

The first step in the process was the formation of an “Anti-Black Racism Task Force’’ comprising staff from a cross-section of infant, child and youth mental health agencies in the City of Toronto.

The task force has selected Toronto-based Turner Consulting Group to conduct the research, carry out the consultations and develop the strategy.

“We’re doing some research now in terms of literature review,’’ said company owner Tana Turner, who has more than two decades of working experience in consulting and research. “We will be facilitating the consultations; we will be doing the research and leading the development of the strategy, with the input from the task force members.’’

Consultations are expected to be held next January and February, and “we’ll have a draft of the strategy, probably in the summer’’, Turner, the principal consultant, told The Caribbean Camera.

“The goal of the strategy is to ensure that the sector honours its promise to end anti-Black racism and provide culturally responsive programs and services which help Black infants, children, and youth thrive.’’

Ekua Asabea Blair, one of the co-chairs of the Anti-Black Racism Task Force, anticipates that the proposed strategy will result in “long-lasting change’’ in mental health service delivery for Black clients.

“Input from the community is critical to understanding the issues facing Black infants, children, youth and families in accessing mental health services,” said Blair, who also is chief executive officer (CEO) of The Massey Centre for Women.

“We are eager to engage in this work and to raise awareness of the impact of anti-Black racism on infants, children, youth and families, and to create long-lasting change that will increase access to mental health services that will provide better outcomes for Black service users.”

Another task force co-chair is Janet McCrimmon, CEO of Strides Toronto. “We look forward to hearing from the community and agency staff to understand the issues faced, which will inform the development of the strategy,” McCrimmon said.

According to the task force, community members can learn more about the initiative and the planned consultations, as well as how they can provide their input, by visiting the project website at