For Immediate Release
April 29, 2024
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Alexander Ogunsanya
Black Mental Health Canada

(BPRW) Black Mental Health Canada and GreenShield Introduce Transformative Women's Counseling Initiative: QUEENS

(Black PR Wire) TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Black Mental Health Canada (BMHC) and GreenShield proudly announce a collaborative effort to address the pressing need for culturally sensitive mental health support within the Black Canadian community. Recognizing the disparities Black women face in mental health care, this partnership introduces QUEENS: Quest to Unite, Empower, & Encourage Nubian Sisters. Through this initiative, BMHC and GreenShield aim to fill a crucial gap in mental health care, providing tailored support and resources to uplift and empower Black women across Canada.

individuals identifying as women and those of Black or African heritage. This groundbreaking initiative offers vital support through women’s counseling groups, addressing various topics including depression, anxiety, growth mindset, pre and post maternal care, meditation, self-care, parenting, and other much-needed areas within the community.

“We acknowledge the importance of culturally sensitive care, and QUEENS is one example of how we are showing up to dismantle barriers hindering access to mental health support that speaks to our stressors and our lived experiences,” said Alice Wiafe, Team Leader at BMHC. “Our objective is to create safe, inclusive spaces where Black women from all walks of life can come together to know others and be known - allowing themselves to be transparent and vulnerable - terms not often associated with the Black women. Unfortunately, we still live in a time where factors like stigma, misinformation, and feelings of shame still surround the topic of seeking help according to latest research.”

Group Counselling offers a transformative space where shared experiences are openly discussed, normalizing them and dispelling fears of isolation. Within this unique and nurturing environment, enriched by diverse perspectives specific to the Black Canadian community, individuals cultivate invaluable social support and develop interpersonal skills. QUEENS stands out by prioritizing the empowerment and well-being of Black women, creating spaces that not only provide therapeutic support but also celebrate and uplift their identities and experiences.

“As a proudly Canadian non-profit, GreenShield champions better health for all Canadians, with a focus on bridging equity gaps through culturally appropriate solutions for underserved populations,” says Mandy Mail, Executive Vice President, Head of Marketing, Communications & GreenShield Cares. “Through our Women’s Mental Health program, we’ve helped nearly 90,000 women access free mental health services. With like-minded organizations like Black Mental Health Canada, we’re expanding our impact and addressing the diverse and distinct needs of women of Black or African heritage. Through innovative programs like QUEENS, we’re building a future where every Canadian can reach their fullest health and well-being potential.”

GreenShield is on track to invest $75M in social impact programs to positively impact at least one million Canadian lives. Part of this investment to date includes over $18.5M in mental health initiatives, providing complimentary mental health support to nearly 200,000 equity-seeking Canadians. With findings revealing that women from equity-seeking groups struggle more with their mental health, GreenShield focuses on providing support for people who identify as women, non-binary, and gender non-conforming.

QUEENS represents a significant step towards achieving mental health equity. BMHC and GreenShield remain committed to driving positive change and expanding access for Black women across Canada to have the support they need to thrive.

About Black Mental Health Canada (BMHC):

Black Mental Health Canada (BMHC) is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting mental health awareness and providing culturally sensitive support to individuals of Black and African heritage across Canada. Through advocacy, education, and community engagement, BMHC strives to address systemic barriers and promote mental wellness within the Black community.

About GreenShield Canada:

GreenShield is an integrated health and benefits organization and the first organization in Canada to operate as a payer-provider — offering insurance, administering benefits, and paying claims as a 'payer' while offering health services such as mental health, pharmacy, and telemedicine services as a 'provider.' Integrating both sides of the payer-provider equation enables GreenShield to simplify access to care, remove administrative barriers, and improve health outcomes for its customers.

GreenShield is uniquely structured as a non-profit social enterprise that reinvests its earnings and redeploys its services to support equity-seeking Canadian communities via its social impact brand, GreenShield Cares. The company's overarching goal is to generate $75 million of social impact investments to improve the lives of at least 1 million Canadians by 2025, focusing on mental health, oral health, essential medicines, and chronic disease management.

As the industry's noble challenger, GreenShield continues to innovate, evolving its offerings and services to deepen its mission of Better Health for All.

GreenShield is comprised of three non-profit entities: Green Shield Canada (GSC), Green Shield Association (GSA) and Green Shield Canada Foundation (GSCF), and GSA’s wholly owned subsidiaries, including Green Shield Health Inc. and Green Shield Administration Inc.

Source: Black Mental Health Canada