As leaders of Infant, Child and Youth Mental Health Agencies in the city of Toronto, we share our collective outrage and sadness at the violent incidents of anti-Black racism that have occurred in the last few weeks. These instances of Police brutality against members of the Black community have shaken our clients, families, communities and organizations. We acknowledge that these events are only the most recent manifestations of systemic anti-Black racism that has existed for generations, having devastating impact and persistently traumatizing Black communities. As leaders, agencies, a service network and as a society, we have the responsibility to be active allies in making the changes required to create a just and equitable society.
We stand firmly with the Black community and our colleagues to condemn all forms of racism. We recognize racism as a public health crisis that reveals itself in many ways: from microaggressions to physical violence to systemic perpetuation of power and privilege. These societal, structural and individual aggressions have had a significant impact on the mental health and life outcomes of Black community members.
We commit to working with the Lead Agency to form a Task Force with the mandate to develop a multi-year road map to make a measurable impact in relation to anti-Black racism. As first steps in this mandate, we commit to provide training to all sector staff, management and boards of directors. We will work towards aligning our sector’s programs, policies and practices with best practices in anti-racism and anti-oppression.
Externally, we will raise awareness of the impact of anti-Black racism on children, youth and families. We will support initiatives aimed at changing the systems and policies that enable anti-Black racism today, including increased accountability and transparency in systems that have historically oppressed the Black community. We are committed to collective action to address anti-Black racism in our organizations and in our city.
Finally, we know the much-needed discussions of the last few weeks may be unearthing new pain for the very communities it is intended to lift up. Please remember that our organizations are here for children, youth and families if you need support. To access services, call Mental Health TO at 1-866-585-6486 (toll free) or view a list of children and youth service providers.
An interview with David Willis, Strides Toronto director, with the Global New morning show offering tips to help identify troubled kids and teens and support them through the pandemic.
With the evolving news regarding COVID19, here is a helpful resource created by Children’s Mental Health Ontario when talking to your anxious child about COVID 19.