Perspectives on Cultural Competency and Black Canadians’ Access to Mental Health Care in Canada: A Thematic Analysis


  • Kameryn Whyte Dalhousie University; University of East London



Black Canadians, African Nova Scotian, mental health


Objectives: The aim of this research was to explore the extent to which cultural competency is practised within Canadian mental health care by mental health professionals with respect to Black Canadians and African Nova Scotians. In addition, the study sought to determine how to improve Canadian mental health care for inclusivity of Black Canadians. Design: Five adult participants were recruited, with recruitment criteria involving self-identification as either “African Nova Scotian” or “Black Canadian,” or as a mental health professional with experience working with these populations. Participants were interviewed in a one-to-one setting using a semi-structured interview guide. Results: A thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) yielded three superordinate themes and eight subordinate themes. The superordinate themes were “No Blacks Allowed,” “Bad Apples (Spoil the Bunch),” and “Intrinsic Understanding.” Taken together, the themes suggest that while participants recognized the importance of cultural awareness training and understanding, and indicated an interest in implementing mandatory cultural awareness training for mental health professionals, the implementation of cultural competency in the practice of the mental health system in Canada remains elusive. Conclusion: The findings were that Black Canadians and African Nova Scotians are experiencing barriers to their accessibility of mental health care in Canada. The barriers are related to a lack of cultural awareness from mental health professionals. The findings suggest that Canadian mental health care could benefit from the implementation of cultural competency training.

Author Biography

Kameryn Whyte, Dalhousie University; University of East London

Dalhousie University 
University of East London


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