Project Spotlight: Centre for Resilience and Social Development

Halumbe Wellness Project: Supporting the Mental Health of Black Youth in Ottawa

Improving the mental health of Black Youth in the Ottawa School District.


Black youth, newcomers and refugees



  • Through culturally relevant mental health interventions, the project aims to increase knowledge of the unique mental health needs and challenges faced by Black youth in Canada among teachers, administrators, and parents.


Objectives will be achieved through targeted programming for students, their teachers, and their caregivers. By promoting resilience and building capacity among the Black community, the program will help to reduce stigma and improve access to mental health support services for Black youth.


  • Interventions for Black Youth in three Ottawa public schools
  • Targeted training for school administrators and teachers
  • Workshops for parents and guardians



  • Community
  • School

Implementation sites

  • Ottawa, Ontario


Black Canadians are more likely to experience serious psychological distress than the general population from socio-economic stressors such as:

  • Poverty
  • Racism
  • Islamophobia
  • Marginalization
  • Lack of access to culturally appropriate community services
  • Increased exposure to violence and victimization

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated pre-existing mental health needs among Black Canadian youth


In the words of the project team members

“The overarching objective of Halumbe Wellness Project is to address the mental health needs and challenges of Black Canadians…we hope that the project will increase knowledge about the unique experience and challenges faced by Canadian youth and their families and reduce the stigma around mental health, specifically within the Black community.”


Key protective factors

  • Cultural connectedness and identity
  • Resiliency
  • Social identity/belonging
  • School connectedness
  • Involvement in community and group activities
  • Education

Key approaches

  • Culturally safe/informed