Leading up to Bell Let’s Talk Day on Jan. 28, Queen’s teamed up with Bell Let’s Talk last week to host a panel discussion about the experiences that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of colour) communities in Canada have dealing with mental health. Moderated by Jane Philpott, Dean of the Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences, the panel brought together four experts to talk about the challenges faced by BIPOC communities and strategies for building resilience. Nearly 1,000 people viewed the event.
“I thank the entire team at Bell Let’s Talk for their vision in creating this event, and it is an honour for Queen’s University to co-host this important discussion,” said Dean Philpott as she opened the discussion and introduced the panelists.
Throughout the discussion, the panelists drew from their work and personal experiences to highlight the negative effects systemic racism has on the mental health of BIPOC communities. At several points, they stressed that greater equity, diversity, and inclusion are needed in Canada to fully address BIPOC mental health issues.
While the panel dealt with the experiences of BIPOC communities generally, special attention was paid to how the COVID-19 pandemic affects the mental health of these communities. The panelists gave advice for building resilience and taking time for wellness during this difficult time.
“Let’s not forget the people we have in our lives, and the joy that we can derive from those people and from small, everyday things,” said Asante Haughton, one of the panelists and a public speaker and human rights activist focused on looking at mental health through the prism of racism.
The other panelists were:
• Dr. Kenneth Fung, Staff Psychiatrist and Clinical Director of the Asian Initiative in Mental Health Program at Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network and Associate Professor with Equity, Gender, and Populations Division at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto.
• Dr. Myrna Lashley, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, and researcher at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the Jewish General Hospital.
• President Natan Obed, President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
Watch the full panel discussion online.