This year Black Mental Health Week runs from Monday March 4, 2024 to Sunday March 10, 2024.


Anti-Black racism is prevalent in our society and has negative impacts on the health of Black Torontonians. Emerging research confirms that anti-Black racism takes a toll on mental health, despite the resilience of Black communities. Additionally, Black Torontonians cannot easily access culturally appropriate mental health supports and services. The City & TAIBU Community Health Centre came together to highlight the impact of anti-Black racism on the mental health of Black residents in our city, and as a first step, the City officially declared Monday, March 2, 2020, as Toronto’s first Black Mental Health Day. In 2021, the day was expanded to a week to provide greater opportunity to cultivate greater awareness of the impacts of anti-Black racism on Black communities, families and individuals.

This year, the City has again partnered with TAIBU Community Health Centre and engaged partners at Tropicana Community Services, Strides Toronto, Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, Delta Family Resource Centre, and Black Heath Alliance to lead the initiative and animate spaces across Toronto with various community partners. Visit Black Mental Health Week for more information.

Growth and Reflection: The Year of Sankofa

This year’s theme, “Growth and Reflection: The Year of Sankofa” is of particular relevance to the City of Toronto’s commemoration of the last year of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (UN IDPAD). This theme encourages Black communities to enhance mental health and wellness through the understanding and application of the principles of the international decade – Recognition, Justice, and Development. A commitment to addressing these principles can make public spaces more supportive of restoration and the de-stigmatization of racialized myths of mental illness.

The week will consist of various in-person and virtual discussions, activities, and events organized and hosted by various Black-serving community organizations. Inspired by this year’s theme, these activities will work to include and target various groups within Toronto’s diverse Black communities, including, but not limited to, Black Francophone communities, Black 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, Black youth, and Black communities living with HIV/AIDS.

These are details of a few highlighted BMHW2024 activities. For more information on other events and resources, visit Black Mental Health Week.

BMHW2024 Opening Ceremony
Date: Monday, March 4, 2024
Time: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: Tropicana Community Services – 1385 Huntingwood Drive, Scarborough, ON, M1S 3J1
Format: In-person
Price: Free (For more information and to register visit Black Mental Health Week)
“Table Talks” Community Engagement for the Development of the City of Toronto’s 10-year Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism
Date: Monday, March 4, 2024
Time: 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Location: Tropicana Community Services – 1385 Huntingwood Drive, Scarborough, ON, M1S 3J1
Format: In-person
Price: Free (For more information and to register visit Black Mental Health Week)
“When Sisters Speak” Spoken Word Showcase
Date: Saturday, March 9, 2024
Time: 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Location: St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts: Jane Mallet Theatre – 27 Front Street East, Toronto, ON, M5E 1B4
Format: In-person
Price: $56.00 – $70.00+ (To purchase tickets visit Ticketmaster)
BMHW2024 Closing Ceremony
Date: Sunday, March 10, 2024
Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: The Toronto Archives – 255 Spadina Road, Toronto, ON, M5R 2V3
Format: In-person
Price: Free (For more information and to register visit Black Mental Health Week)


Studies show witnessing or being the target of anti-Black racism throughout our lifespan can have adverse affects on our mental health and physical wellbeing.

It’s not only overt racism that harms Black people’s mental and physical wellbeing. Anti-Black racism takes many forms. Black Torontonians frequently experience undue mistrust and scrutiny as a part of daily life, in workplaces, schools, public spaces, or during interactions with public institutions. Common experiences of anti-Black racism include microaggressions, difficulty in accessing appropriate care and support, and even disbelief from care providers when expressing distress or trauma.

For many Black people, these pressures result in feeling the need to practice extra vigilance to ensure their own safety, which puts extraordinary demands on their capacity for resilience.

These experiences can lead to or add to existing mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. For Black communities, these and other mental illnesses are often overlooked and have increased rates of misdiagnosis, under-treatment, and failure to diagnose. Mental health issues can also exacerbate the risk and harm of other illnesses, for which Black communities already face increased risk, like hypertension, stroke, and heart disease.

Addressing the barriers and burdens of anti-Black racism on mental health begins with:

  • Breaking the silence
  • Confronting stigma
  • Ensuring access to timely, appropriate and culturally responsive health care.

Neglecting these issues also hinders Black communities’ opportunities to actively participate in building a Toronto that better serves them, including the need to rally and advocate for systemic change.

Combating anti-Black racism and its impact on mental health in our community means working together. Black communities cannot address this systemic issue by themselves. Allies, who have access to audiences and opportunities, can play a significant role in the work of anti-Black racism and mental health. Whereas ‘advocacy’ is about standing up for people who cannot stand up for themselves, ‘allyship’ is to make room and space for people to stand up for themselves. Both are needed but allyship provides a lasting and meaningful solution.

If you are ready to develop a better understanding of the barriers and want to advance equity and social justice Black Mental Health Week is a good opportunity to start your journey with. Learn more about how you can become an ally at work and in your personal life.


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