“It is difficult to find adequate and culturally competent mental health support that truly meets the needs of BIPOC people and communities in our current existing system," writes The Khyber in a Facebook post earlier this week. The local arts organization couldn’t be more correct. During the hellscape of 2020, when our collective trauma meant that more of us than ever were considering talking to a professional about how we felt, the overwhelming whiteness of the field was yet another barrier for folks to face.
While there aren’t easily available stats of the number of BIPOC therapists and counselors working in Canada, news stories on the subject talk about individuals searching for a therapist who looked like them for a decade. The organization Healing In Colour launched last year to begin filling the gap at a national level, with its roster of BIPOC therapists and rich list of resources. But it should be noted that while many of the therapists on Healing In Colour offer teletherapy, none of them reside east of Quebec.
In its post, The Khyber wasn’t just out to state the problem. Instead, it’s helping Halifax find a solution, by publicly releasing its own BIPOC mental health support database. “We have been working since August 2019 to crowdsource and compile as much information into this document as possible,” reads the post, “in an attempt to create an easily accessible public contact list of who is available to reach out to when we/our loved ones are having a hard time and need healing support.”
Made to be regularly updated, the database currently contains the contact info for 11 professionals–along with the gender and racial identities of each, so you can match with a mental health expert who will be able to understand your lived experience and where you’re coming from. Check out the database here and share it widely to help healing begin.