Mental Health Matters – Students & Stigma

Post-secondary students are going through a mental health crisis – a study published by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations in 2020 found a staggering 3/4 students reported experiencing negative mental health during their studies during the 2021-2022 school year. For African, Caribbean or Black (ACB) students, the added stress of racism, financial worries, and the pressure to overachieve puts them at a higher chance of developing a mental health condition – the pandemic and the constant media coverage of string of racial injustices only increases this likelihood.

However, students appear reluctant to seek help and access mental health services due to stigma associated with mental health issues.

Join us for Ottawa Black Mental Health Coalition’s Black Mental Health Week 2023 as we discuss how mental health myths & stigma impact Black students and how the lack of accessible or adequate mental health support has led to a student mental health crisis.

Moderating the discussion is Nagad Hersi and guest speakers will be guest speakers Dilaye Desta, Desiree Henry and Jannice Hinds


Nagad Hersi: Nagad is driven by her commitment to address systemic barriers around accessing mental health services, Nagad has worn several hats within the community to advocate for equity and diversity. She is an experienced community developer, program facilitator, researcher and more recently, a mental health counselor.

Dilaye Desta: Dilaye is a community builder, public speaker, and the Programs Coordinator at the Canadian Women of Colour Leadership Network (CWCLN). With a background in Criminology & Civil Law from the University of Ottawa, her passion lies in abolition and anti-racism education and is currently involved in community building and organizing amongst the Afro-Caribbean and Black diaspora in the Greater Toronto Area.

Desiree Henry: Desiree Henry is passionate about mental health and community engagement. Her diverse educational background in Television Broadcasting, entrepreneurial experiences, and Mental Wellness Coaching allow her to lead our Youth program with tenacity. Desiree sustained various roles with Canadian companies to assist their growth and support youth programs for different Not for Profit groups. Desiree’s passions are serving her community and creating constructive and accessible spaces for black youth. In her current role as Programs Manager at Realize Your Potential Youth Society. she oversees the effective planning and implementation of the NewLife Youth Regeneration Programs. Desiree is also the Co-Founder of the original 2013 RYP Dreamers Program.

Jennice Hinds: Jannice is a Linguistics Ph.D. student at Carleton University whose research focuses on the relationship between sound and feature perception. Outside of her research, Jennice is the cofounder and Events Lead of the Umoja Black Community Engagement Program, which is dedicated to the academic, professional, and personal empowerment of the Ottawa regions’ African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB)communities. Jennice has spent the past several years working with post-secondary students in different capacities and is committed to the success and overall well-being of students in the post-secondary system. She also prioritizes sharing her personal experience in academia to help younger people better navigate their way.

This discussion will be online. Registered participants will receive a zoom link

A special thanks to the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre for supporting this important discussion

Shout out to our wonderful partners:

Ottawa Black Mental Health Coalition, ANYO, Umoja


Mar 04 2023


1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

More Info

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Canadian Women Of Colour Leadership Network
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