Anti-Black Racism And Building Organizational Partnerships: A Toronto-Based Study

In the realm of mental health, the role of racism in recovery-oriented practices for Black youth remains a significantly understudied area. This article delves into the findings of a research initiative aimed at characterizing and contextualizing interagency relationships within the mental health sector in Ontario, with a particular focus on clinicians' perspectives and the implications for mental health provision.

Research Design and Methods: A mixed-methods approach was employed to glean insights into clinicians' views on the collaborative nature of partnerships within the mental health sector. The study unfolded in two phases: first, an online survey was circulated among clinicians in Toronto, Ontario, between March and April 2020.

Subsequently, seven focus groups were conducted in Toronto between May and December 2020, involving Black youth, caregivers, community members, and clinicians. Quantitative data were meticulously analyzed using SPSS and visualized through social network analysis. Simultaneously, Nvivo 12 was utilized to perform a thematic analysis of qualitative data obtained from the focus groups.

The study brought to light a common trend of interagency collaboration among mainstream agencies. However, partnerships between Black agencies and their mainstream counterparts were found to be infrequent. Notably, a significant portion of mainstream agencies expressed disinterest in pursuing future partnerships with Black agencies. The research also highlighted feelings of unpreparedness among clinicians, particularly in their ability to provide culturally safe and responsive care to Black youth.

The findings underscored that project partnerships between mainstream agencies are prevalent, but there exists a notable dearth of Black agencies engaging in organizational partnerships with their mainstream counterparts. Furthermore, the study revealed a limited understanding of the systemic impacts of racism as a barrier to building interagency partnerships, with implications for recovery-oriented practice.

It was observed that current Canadian recovery guidelines do not explicitly identify racism as a social determinant of health, nor do they discuss potential implications for recovery-oriented practice. The article suggests that strengthening these guidelines involves implementing system-level changes and culturally adapted care to address the systemic challenges identified in the study

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