Access to mental health for Black youths in Alberta
African, Alberta, Black, youth, mental health, Caribbean
Introduction: The objective of this study was to examine the barriers that influence access to and use of mental health services by Black youths in Alberta. Methods: We used a youth-led participatory action research (PAR) methodology within a youth empowerment model situated within intersectionality theory to understand access to health care for both Canadian-born and immigrant Black youth in Alberta. The research project was co-led by an advisory committee consisting of 10 youths who provided advice and tangible support to the research. Seven members of the advisory committee also collected data, co-facilitated conversation cafés, analyzed data and helped in the dissemination activities. We conducted in-depth individual interviews and held four conversation café-style focus groups with a total of 129 youth. During the conversation cafés, the youths took the lead in identifying issues of concern and in explaining the impact of these issues on their lives. Through rigorous data coding and thematic analysis as well as reflexivity and member checking we ensured our empirical findings were trustworthy. Results: Our findings highlight key barriers that can limit access to and utilization of mental health services by Black youth, including a lack of cultural inclusion and safety, a lack of knowledge/information on mental health services, the cost of mental health services, geographical barriers, stigma and judgmentalism, and limits of resilience. Conclusion: Findings confirm diverse/intersecting barriers that collectively perpetuate disproportional access to and uptake of mental health services by Black youths. The results of this study suggest health policy and practice stakeholders should consider the following recommendations to break down barriers: diversify the mental health service workforce; increase the availability and quality of mental health services in Black dominated neighbourhoods; and embed anti-racist practices and intercultural competencies in mental health service delivery.
Salami, B., Denga, B., Taylor, R., Ajayi, N., Jackson, M., Asefaw, M., & Salma, J. (2021). Access to mental health services for Black youths in Alberta. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada, 41(9), 245-53. https://doi.org/10.24095/hpcdp.41.9.01
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