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Building Communities of Resistance

By Ola Idris & Dinan Alasad
Building Revolutionary Communities

An Afrocentric Analysis of Black Experiences in the Mental Health System

By Rayanne Banaga


This paper explores mental health research in Black communities and racial disparities in the Canadian mental health system. The experiences of Black communities and Black scholars are explored to highlight and explore the roots of racial disparities, differences in outcome and popular attitudes towards the mental health system. Asserting that the western model of mental health creates a gap between perceived and real quality of care, the methodology uses Afrocentric paradigms, focusing on Black narratives and a literary and historical review to better understand the data and research available on the subject. The western paradigm of mental health care is critiqued for its historical relationship with black communities and pathologizing distress. Additionally, the historical evolution of the western mental health paradigm is contrasted in its historical development and care practices with alternative psychologies. To address racial issues, this research urges a critical analysis of the role, regulatory ramifications, and philosophy of the western mental health care system. The implications of this paper are that mental health services need to prioritize agency and alternative paradigms of care, rather than adaptations and cultural competency.

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