February 10, 2021 (Toronto) – Today, CAMH is launching Dismantling Anti-Black Racism, a strategy that includes 22 actions to decrease anti-Black racism at CAMH by 2022. The strategy was developed in consultation with an external community advisory group and outlines a plan to accomplish the following:
- ensure safe, accessible and equitable care for Black patients and families;
- build an equitable working environment for Black staff; and,
- eliminate unfair treatment for Black populations within CAMH and across the mental health system.
“Systemic racism is a barrier to high quality health care for Black patients—at CAMH and across the health care system,” said CAMH President and CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn. “This can’t be tolerated. Black individuals and communities have a right to equitable access for high quality health care. Our staff have the right to a workplace that acknowledges and addresses this burden of inequity.”
Dismantling Anti-Black Racism was developed with the guidance of the Anti-Black Racism and Mental Health Advisory Committee, an external group of Black mental health leaders that offers support to CAMH on confronting anti-Black racism at the hospital.
Anti-Black racism has traumatic impacts that increase mental illness in Black populations. Black people in the Greater Toronto Area are more likely to report poor mental health than people who are not Black, and Black people in Ontario are more likely to access mental health care through emergency or police services.
“Growing evidence from Canadian studies and from our own analysis of CAMH data shows differences in the risk of mental illness and outcomes of care for Black populations,” said Dr. Kwame McKenzie, CAMH Director of Health Equity. “Unfair and unjust treatment have no place in our mental health system and CAMH is committed to ensuring that anti-Black racism is eliminated.”
Outlined in the strategy, which will continue to evolve over time, are clear and measureable goals to dismantle anti-Black racism at CAMH. The strategy also highlights key partners, both internal and external, critical to achieving success.
“CAMH has a lot of work to do,” said Dr. Zahn. “Our health care system was built on a foundation of racism. Dismantling the structures that uphold this is a priority for CAMH. I hope that our work can stand as a model of learning for system wide change as we work together to eliminate anti-Black racism right here and right now.”
• Click here to read the full strategy, Dismantling Anti-Black Racism
• Click here to read on overview of the 22 actions to decreased anti-Black racism at CAMH by 2022
About The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
CAMH is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please follow @CAMHnews on Twitter.