Community members have been organizing around improving mental health and additions services in Black communities for a long time. These efforts have led to programs like the Substance Abuse Program for African Canadian and Caribbean Youth (SAPACCY), the Black Enhanced Youth Outreach Worker Program and many other youth-led initiatives aimed at creating effective services for Black youth. Since 2015, Black Health Alliance (BHA) has engaged with mental health professionals, community coalitions and policy makers to work towards improving services. This led to community consultations in 2017 which involved Black youth, families, community members and stakeholders across Ontario.
At every consultation held mental health and a lack of appropriate mental health supports for Black children and youth were raised as pressing issues affecting Black communities. In response, BHA partnered with TAIBU Community Health Centre, Wellesley Institute, the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), and East Metro Youth Services to build a project that would improve the current system of services available to Black children and youth in Ontario. The result is Pathways to Care, a 5-year project aimed at removing barriers and improving access to mental health and addictions services for Black children, youth and their families in 6 cities across Ontario. To learn more about Pathways to Care, click here.