Project Spotlight: Ghanaian Canadian Association of Ontario

Mental Health First Aid for Africans in the Diaspora

This project is designed to build capacity amongst Black Canadians and Africans in Diaspora communities in Canada through the implementation of culturally focused and relevant Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses and community programs.


The project will target members of the Black community, especially those who have immigrated from Africa



GCAO intends to have facilitators/trainers available to provide culturally appropriate MHFA training in every community in Canada where there is an African Canadian association or agency.


Incorporating an understanding of culture into an MHFA toolkit will increase the uptake of people needing support and increase the capacity of the community to address the unique barriers that exist due to a lack of access and knowledge on mental health on a general and practical level



  • Community
  • Online

Implementation sites

  • Initial cities will include Vancouver, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; Toronto, Ontario; and Montreal Quebec; all places with well-established Associations


  • The conversation and education of mental health among African communities is a major challenge and, as a result, many who suffer from poor mental health fail to get the immediate and appropriate support to improve.
  • COVID-19 has exacerbated mental health issues as many are overwhelmed with life challenges, and so mental health issues have intensified.
  • Mental health services and supports are the least available and accessible resources for immigrants, especially those from Africa as these services and supports are either minimal or non-existent from their place of origin.


In the words of the project team members

“It’s going to be train-a-trainer model, where we train our community members who will then train their community members to be able to increase the capacity of our trainers. All our mental health support is in the community.”

Key protective factors

  • Social identity/belonging
  • Involvement in community and group activities
  • Education
  • Valuing diversity

Key approaches

  • Culturally safe/informed