A recent article in the Toronto Star https://www.thestar.com/insight/2022/08/06 provides a lens into the challenges faced by youth workers in BIPOC communities. Inequities in funding support to facilitate socioeconomic and mental health for youth in these communities are impossible to ignore.
Funding for community-based mental health and well-being programs are allotted to large community-based organization, for most part. In 2022 for instance, $8.6 million has been invested in six specific projects across Ontario for mental health promotion. Inequities arise when no funding or very little trickles down to independently-run community agencies, established by youth workers who support marginalized youth within their communities.
The culminative negative effect of social and environmental inequities on youth mental health is established and cannot be overstated. Youth mental health continues to be in crisis. Existing government investment and initiatives are not having the desired effects. They are failing to meet youth mental health needs across the board.
Gaps and inequities in socioeconomic and mental health supports in BIPOC communities need to be addressed AGAIN by stakeholders; and the dots connected to boost existing BIPOC youth mental health initiatives in the community. The Government of Canada's Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund (MHP-IF) needs to work directly and closely with frontline individual youth agencies to support them at the micro level, to keep them engaged in facilitating youth resilience and well-being.
Enhanced youth mental health is community health. Collaboration is key in achieving SDGs2030 and a brighter future for all.