“I didn’t know how much I was holding in from the overwhelming grief of all the people I have lost to the pandemic and the racialized violence happening at home until I had the opportunity to talk to a therapist who truly understood. The experience has been life changing.”
– UBC student on the impact of the Black Mental Wellness Project
Everyone has a right to mental health. But not everyone has access to mental health services. Longer wait times, geographical and financial obstacles, and a lack of access to Black counsellors are just a few of the barriers that Black community members face. Barriers that have repeatedly been surfaced by Black students, faculty and staff at UBC.
In response, the UBC Black Caucus, supported through the IBPOC Connections: Faculty and Staff program and the Equity Enhancement Fund from the Equity & Inclusion Office, is bringing back the Black Mental Wellness Project to center the needs of Black community members and address barriers to accessing mental health supports.
Piloted in 2021, the project provides Black UBC community members with free access to Black counsellors. Within two weeks of the program first launching, fifty-one hours of counselling sessions had been booked, reinforcing a very clear need for increased access to Black counsellors.
“This was an amazing project, and I do hope UBC continues to do it as there is a need.”
– Participating counsellor
Back again in 2022, for the month of November – and on a first-come, first-served basis – Black students, faculty and staff across the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses can access free 1-on-1 virtual or in-person counselling sessions with Black counsellors.
Visit the UBC Black Caucus website to get counsellor details and to book an appointment.
“I had been looking for a Black therapist for a while now, and I am ever so grateful that you found these therapists for us at a time when they were desperately needed.”
– UBC faculty member
“I really appreciated having a list of black counsellors and a short bio/description. This was my first time trying out counselling a one of the big reasons I hadn’t was because I didn’t know how to access a Black therapist. Thank you for putting this together and I hope this is something that continues.”
– UBC staff member
“[…] through the UBC Black Caucus Black Mental Wellness Pilot Project, I was able to have a session with a Black, immigrant woman and honestly one session has already been so beneficial.””
– UBC student
Did you know
Based on the results of a survey of Black Canadians conducted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada:
- 60% said they would be more willing to use mental health services if the mental health professional was Black;
- 35% were experiencing significant psychological distress, 34% of whom never sought mental health services;
- 95% felt that the underutilization of mental health services by Black Canadian residents was an issue that needed to be addressed.
November 1-30 is Thrive. Learn about, talk about, and explore ways to support your mental health.