QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPPs Jill Andrew (Toronto-St. Paul's, Culture and Heritage, and Women's Social and Economic Opportunities Critic) and Laura Mae Lindo (Kitchener-Centre, Anti-racism and Equity, and Colleges and Universities Critic) issued the following statement on Black Mental Health Day acknowledged on the first Monday in March:
“The everyday impact of navigating anti-Black racism is undeniable for Black Ontarians. It’s often routine for security to double check our grocery receipts at self-check out, to be carded by police and security officers, or to hear anti-Black language used in our schools. Despite all the achievements and contributions made by Black communities across Ontario, anti-Black racism continues to impact our mental health.
“We all know someone who’s experienced chronic anxiety or depression. But for Black Ontarians, poor mental health is exacerbated because they continue to navigate extra hurdles. Constantly forced to prove ourselves, Black parents train our children to keep their hands out of their pockets in stores for fear that we will be accused of stealing, and to achieve more because our accomplishments are typically denied or ignored,” said Lindo.
“The NDP will continue to work towards addressing anti-Black racism and other social inequities in education, housing, healthcare, employment, the legal system, and in policing. To do this, you must address the root causes of mental health issues in Black communities. This is why, my colleague MPP France Gelinas and I re-tabled a bill calling for psychotherapy services to be made tax free, reiterating the NDP belief that mental healthcare is healthcare. It is why my colleague MPP Wayne Gates is fighting to eradicate prohibitive cost inequities in prostate cancer testing – a disease which disproportionately impacts Black men. And we continue to urge the government to support MPP Lindo’s Racial Equity in the Education Systems Act which provides a roadmap to educators at all levels for addressing anti-Black racism in Ontario schools,” said Andrew.
“NDP MPP Bhutila Karpoche and former MPP Faisal Hassan tabled a bill to recognize March 1 as Black Mental Health Day in 2020. MPP Karpoche, MPP Andrew and I re-tabled this important legislation in 2022 to formally provide space to recognize how the systemic nature of anti-Black racism impacts mental health,” said Lindo.
“Today, once again, we call on the government to formally recognize the first Monday of March as Black Mental Health Day to allow everyone in the province, particularly health and social services working with Black communities, to acknowledge the problem and develop a culturally appropriate strategy to help Black Ontarians experiencing poor mental health,” said Lindo and Andrew.