Bell supports mental health for BIPOC
May 12, 2021
MONTREAL – Bell Let’s Talk announced $750,000 in new grants from the Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund to six more organizations working to improve access to mental healthcare for members of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities in Canada.
“Since we launched the Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund, we have been impressed by the work being done by organizations across the country to bring culturally informed mental health supports to Canada’s diverse communities,” said Mary Deacon, chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “We’re pleased to expand our support with grants to these outstanding organizations as they work to improve access to mental healthcare in the face of growing demand due to the combined impacts of racial injustice and COVID-19.”
The Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund provides grants for organizations working to address the impact of systemic racism on the mental health of BIPOC communities. The fund launched in 2020 with inaugural donations to Black Youth Helpline and the National Association of Friendship Centres. Groups across the country were then invited to submit expressions of interest as part of the first cycle to receive funding, and eight recipients were announced earlier this year.
Bell Let’s Talk worked with mental health experts, persons with lived experience and community leaders from BIPOC communities to select a further 6 organizations to receive grants from the first cycle:
Delta Family Resource Centre, Ontario
“This funding is the realization of a three-year dream and also part of the third year of our strategic plan which identifies the creation of a wellness program for residents of Northwest Toronto,” said Kemi Jacobs (pictured), executive director. “The timing of this funding could not be better as it allows us to hire an additional counsellor to provide culturally appropriate counselling support for diverse Black families.”
MOSAIC, British Columbia
“We are so grateful to Bell Let’s Talk for its generous gift to support and improve mental health and overall well-being of newcomers, immigrants and refugees of all ages,” said Olga Stachova, CEO. “Bell’s generosity helps MOSAIC support newcomers, especially with the surge in demand for virtual services for counseling and group workshops.”
Nurrait | Jeunes Karibus, Québec
“The Nurrait | Jeunes Karibus team is honored to receive support from Bell for our “Cabin Project” which will contribute to the personal and professional development of young adolescents in Nunavik,” said Valérie Raymond, executive director. “We are grateful to the Diversity Fund for believing in Nunavik youth by investing directly in mental illness prevention.”
On Our Own (Les Maisons Transitionnelles), Québec
“To say it’s been a difficult year for our families would be an understatement, but the support we’ve seen from the Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund has had a profound impact,” said Ushana Houston, director. “This grant means we can increase our output of educational programming and childcare so no family falls further behind, allowing them to continue on their personal path to breaking the cycle of poverty.”
TAIBU Community Health Centre, Ontario
“The Community Healing Project is designed to provide a safer space for community members to share experiences, strengths and aspirations in addressing the impact of anti-black racism in the Black communities,” said Liben Gebremikael, executive director. “This project is being implemented at a time when we are observing the heightened trauma of the community due to systemic oppression compounded by the impact of COVID-19. We are grateful to the Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund for the financial assistance and we will continue to partner with Bell Let’s Talk to further address anti-Black racism.”
Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, Ontario
“Racism affects mental health. It’s that simple,” said Allison Fisher, executive director. “The last place we might expect racism is in hospital birthing wards, yet that is precisely where many Indigenous mothers face it. It’s time for their stories to be heard. Chi miigwetch (deep gratitude in Ojibwe) to Bell for seeing the link between anti-Indigenous racism and mental health. It’s an important step towards reconciliation and ending systemic racism.”
Diversity Fund grants in the first cycle now amount to a total of $2,250,000.
As part of Bell’s commitment to take meaningful action to address the impacts of systemic racism across Canada’s ethno-cultural communities, Bell Let’s Talk partnered with Queen’s University, McGill University and Montréal’s Jewish General Hospital in January to host webinars on mental health in diverse communities and engage in discussion about resiliency and mental well-being.
The webinars, Mental health in diverse communities. A discussion about resiliency and mental well-being and La santé mentale dans les communautés de la diversité. Une discussion sur la résilience et le bien-être psychologique highlighted conversations between community leaders, people with lived experience, and experts in the field of mental health in BIPOC communities about the current state of mental health in Black, Indigenous and People of Colour populations.
About Bell Let’s Talk
The largest-ever corporate commitment to mental health in Canada, Bell Let’s Talk is focused on 4 key action pillars: Anti-stigma, Care and Access, Research and Workplace Leadership. Since its launch in September 2010, Bell Let’s Talk has partnered with more than 1,100 organizations providing mental health supports and services throughout Canada, including hospitals, universities, local community service providers and other care and research organizations. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.