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Our Team

Thank you for visiting Our Team page.

The following individuals are the minds and hearts behind BMHC. The diversity of our board which spans age, industry, gender, identity allows us to speak on behalf of and account for the multi-faceted experiences of the black community.

Board of Directors

Alice Wiafe, President of Black Mental Health and member of Board of Directors
President

Alice Wiafe

Alice Wiafe has served as a speaker, talk show host, wife, mother, author, Associate Professor, but most importantly a student of life. For the last 15 years, Alice has been a consultant of Anger Management, and has had the privilege of supporting hundreds of men and women through their emotional healing journey. She teaches how we can use difficult relationships to help us strive towards wholeness, purpose and a better quality of life.

Alice holds a Master's degree in counseling psychology from Adler School of Professional Psychology and is completing her doctorate in Psychology from Ryokan College. According to Alice one of the most fulfilling aspects of being a speaker is the opportunity to connect with real people with real problems.

Alice draws from a decade of working with individuals who struggle with anger and other painful emotions. Through the use of her personal stories and practical strategies, she is able to provide concrete solutions to those who suffer emotionally. She invites us inside her own personal struggle with anger and resentment as she enlightens individuals step by step on how to escape the destructive emotional patterns in their lives.

Tamara Wilkinson-Chin

Tamara has over fifteen years of Bookkeeping experience working in the corporate world and has brought this experience into her current role as a Virtual Bookkeeper and Founder of her own business, TAMROL Professional Services Inc. since 2020, offering back-office support to her clients. She and her team give their clients time to spend on new opportunities so they can accomplish more, juggle less, and succeed and grow.

Tamara is used to dealing with sensitive and confidential matters and has a passion for mental health in both her personal and professional life. She loves taking care of and responding to client's needs and taking care of all the behind-the-scenes.

When Tamara’s not working for her client's business needs or growing her business, she enjoys spending time travelling, reading, and backyard farming (a new passion of hers, to have food security and help those in need).

Matthew Anto

Rev Matthew Anto serves as Vice Chair of the Board. He holds a B Sc. (Computer Science) and an M A. (Theology) and has worked with numerous NGOs and on various international projects. He is a Pastor and also the Executive Vice President of Rhema Systems (a boutique I.T firm in Northern Virginia, USA). As Vice Chair and an ethicist, he oversees and ensures equity and ethical outcomes in governance, compliance and fiduciary matters at BMHC

Black Mental Health Canada

Helena Wiafe

Helena is a dedicated single mother who has been raising her autistic child with love and care. Her experiences as a parent of a child with autism have led her to become a passionate advocate for autism awareness and support and mental health altogether,

In addition to her parenting responsibilities, Helena Wiafe has also made a significant impact in her community through her involvement with Black Mental Health Canada. As a board member, she has played an instrumental role in advocating for greater access to mental health services and resources for Black individuals and families.

Her academic training and personal experiences have equipped her with a deep understanding of the challenges faced by individuals and families affected by mental health issues, particularly in the Black community.

In her free time, Helena enjoys spending quality time with her child, exploring new hobbies, and volunteering in her community. She is an inspiration to those around her, and her dedication to making a positive impact in the lives of others is truly remarkable.

Advisory Board

Dr. Grant Mullen

I graduated from the University of Toronto Medical School, I knew nothing about mental health or the power of emotions to shape our lives. I actually became an anesthetist. That’s right, I was one of those doctors who put people to sleep. It was a perfect “guy” specialty because it was very technical, there were lots of gadgets and I didn’t have to talk to people. My problem though, was that every afternoon when the OR’s were closed, I had to do general practice. As a GP I had to talk to people and find out what was bothering them. Much to my surprise, I discovered that a very large percentage of my patients were suffering from emotional pain rather than the physical pain that I was trained to treat.

I had to start learning about emotions and mental health so I could help these people. Initially, I studied and began treating depression, anxiety and mood swings. These were the most common mood disorders. I discovered that these disorders caused people to think in distinct, predictable patterns. Then I learned which medications were best for each thinking pattern. I was astonished at how well the medications worked when they were given to the right person.

Shawna Hoyte from Black Mental Health Canada

Shawna Hoyte

As a psychotherapist, Board-Certified hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, & lawyer, I provide integrative clinical services to find solutions to the daily challenges that impact individuals across the life span. I utilize EMDR, CBT, DBT, and hypnotherapy to address issues of anxiety/stress, depression, trauma, grief, life stages, fears, phobias, low self-esteem, procrastination, anger, family conflict, etc. I have studied trauma at the Ph.D level. As a lawyer, I practiced family law, etc.. My clinical framework is solution-focused, strengths-based, motivational, trauma-informed, culturally competent, client-centered, and results-driven.

I combine my years of experience in the integrative practice of psychotherapy and law to provide a holistic and trauma-informed service to my clients. I use hypnotherapy as an approach for immediate results. As a member of the BIPOC community, I am able to address your concerns from an anti-oppressive, trauma-informed, and culturally competent perspective.

Dr. Helen Ofosu

Dr. Helen Ofosu offers Career Coaching, Executive Coaching and HR Consulting using her expertise in organizational psychology as her foundation.

Dr. Ofosu’s specialties include the assessment and development of leadership skills, inclusive recruitment and selection of staff and executives, and navigating the complex issues of workplace bullying, harassment, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

She’s an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa.

She’s written a book, "How to Be Resilient in Your Career: Facing up to Barriers at Work" which Routledge will publish in February 2023.

Marlene of Black Mental Health Canada Board of Directors

Marlène Rémy Thélusma

Marlène Rémy Thélusma, is now retired after 20 years of teaching at Collège Boréal in Toronto. Since September 2022, she has resumed her studies in order to complete a Master's degree at the Faculty of Social Justice Education/Institut des études pédagogiques de l'Ontario/Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto. Marlène previously studied at the Université d'État d'Haïti, the Université de Montréal and York University/Collège Glendon, respectively in Social Service, Psycho-Ethnology, Anthropology, Community Economic Development, Psychology Concentration, and has also completed a few professional development programs, notably in Solution Focus Counselling at the Continuing Education of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Social Work. Very involved in Francophonie plurielle ontarienne, Marlène is involved in the governance of various organizations and institutions, such as La Coalition des Noir.e.s francophones de l'Ontario of which she is the General Secretary, the Advisory Committee for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion of Collège Boréal, the Coalition of the TABU Community Health Centre for Healthy Francophone communities in Scarborough which she is the Vice-President, the Community Health Centre in Cornwall witch she is the treasurer to name a few.

Marlene has already been:
Recognized and Medalist in London, England in 2018 by International Conference of Research World-ACADEMICSERA for the presentation of her comparative study conducted in Haiti on two religious phenomena; Recognized in 2018 by The Nigerian Canadian Newspaper Community Award; Recognized in 2015 as one of the Top 100 Black Women of Distinction in Canada; Recognized in 2014 by the State of New York/Nassau County and the Haitian Center for Humanitarian Action for her community involvement with Haitians abroad; Recognized in 2012 and 2013 by the Career Web as one of the Top 100 Career Women in Ontario; Recognized in 2008 by The Panafrican-Haitian Community Awards; Recognized in 2003 by the Ontario Regional Health Council for her volunteer service in mental health for French-speaking immigrants; Recognized in 1988 by the Miami Dade County Board of Education for her involvement with Haitian families in South Florida

Marlene works with a bilingual research team at Ryerson University led by Dr. Margareth Santos Zanchetta. Marlene has already published 4 books, 2 in Canada (La Presse de l'UdeM and Crawshaw Printing) and 2 in France (Les Éditions L'HARMATTAN, Paris and Éditions Baudelaire- Hachette, Lyon).

Circle of Leaders

Saskatoon

Adijat Bunmi Adekunle

Adijat Bunmi Adekunle (she/her) is a Mental Health Therapist and the Clinical Director of Heartfire Medicine. Adi co-founded Heartfire after a decade of determined, uncompromising effort to provide clinical mental health counselling for underserved groups and individuals like BIPOC, 2SLGBTQIIA+, and Muslim communities in Saskatchewan. The path to directing a private practice was paved for Adi in countless experiences of prejudice, microaggressions, performative allyship, and "culturally competent" or "culturally informed" professionals, rather than ones who were culturally humble or appreciative. She doesn't only understand the imperatives for mental health professionals working with BIPOC clients — she's also intimately familiar with the struggles as a client, and seeker of support as a Black Woman herself.

She has spent her career holding space for non-judgemental acceptance, compassionate patience, and an intersectional approach to the traumas of oppression, especially in our BIPOC, Queer, and Trans communities. Sitting down with Adijat, or participating in a Heartfire Learning experience, means a safe place to collaborate, determine goals, and empower not just yourself, but your community and beyond. Her areas of focus include racial and cultural safety, gender and sexual diversity, intergenerational trauma and anxiety, especially in teens and children. Adijat holds a Master's in Social Work from Dalhousie University, a Bachelor's in Social Work from the University of Regina, and a Bachelor's in Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan.

Alberta

Noreen Sibanda

Noreen Sibanda was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in Canada, where she has spent the last two decades working in the community supporting refugee and immigrant families. Some of her notable work includes working on youth participatory research projects with the University of Alberta- Community-University partnership, coordinating summer youth programs for newcomers, and more recently focusing on bringing awareness to mental health to marginalized individuals. Her passion to destigmatize and increase access to mental health services has led her to work within schools and with community-based organizations offering counselling services at a sliding scale to eliminate barriers. After years of working within the system, she recognized the need to have allies and a network of black therapists, this led to the creation of the Alberta Black Therapists Network (ABTN). The ABTN are a group of licensed and regulated professionals working in the field of mental health and addictions that aim to normalize experiences, destigmatize accessing therapy within the black community and reduce barriers and inequalities experienced by people of colour.

Noreen currently serves as the Executive Director of ABTN. She is an experienced speaker having facilitated multiple psycho-educational presentations, presented at conferences both locally and intentionally and an anti-racism and mental health curriculum reviewer and developer. She also seasoned guest appearances on podcast, tv and radio engagement.
She is a University of Alberta Alumni, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Women and Gender studies. She also holds a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology and is a practicing Registered Provisional Psychologist in Edmonton.

Shawna Hoyte from Black Mental Health Canada
Nova Scotia

Shawna Hoyte

As a psychotherapist, Board-Certified hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, & lawyer, I provide integrative clinical services to find solutions to the daily challenges that impact individuals across the life span. I utilize EMDR, CBT, DBT, and hypnotherapy to address issues of anxiety/stress, depression, trauma, grief, life stages, fears, phobias, low self-esteem, procrastination, anger, family conflict, etc. I have studied trauma at the Ph.D level. As a lawyer, I practiced family law, etc.. My clinical framework is solution-focused, strengths-based, motivational, trauma-informed, culturally competent, client-centered, and results-driven.

I combine my years of experience in the integrative practice of psychotherapy and law to provide a holistic and trauma-informed service to my clients. I use hypnotherapy as an approach for immediate results. As a member of the BIPOC community, I am able to address your concerns from an anti-oppressive, trauma-informed, and culturally competent perspective.

Joanne Owuor from Black Mental Health Canada
New Brunswick

‎Joanne Owuor

Joanne Owuor is a Social worker, co-founder and consultant with over 15+ years’ experience in supporting African descent and racialized communities in NB. She brings her vast experience in community mobilizing and stakeholder engagement to the work she does as a consultant with Black led, focussed, and serving organizations including New Brunswick African Association and Battle of the Arts NB.

She is an African, mother, daughter, aunt and sister, a citizen of many worlds defined by limitlessness and possibilities. She holds the values of Black liberation, racial equity and justice central to her work and engages individuals and organisations in this work through advocacy, education, and community building. In the quest for equity, she strives to also remember to allow joy in.

British Columbia

Ruth Unaegbu

My name is Ruth Unaegbu and I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Approved Clinical Supervisor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC #12132). A first-generation Nigerian Canadian, I am the owner of two counselling practices, Ruth Unaegbu Counselling & Coaching and REST Counselling Group. I have provided private therapy and supervision services in British Columbia, Canada and coaching services worldwide for over 14 years. I created my practices to support people by undoing aloneness and creating a safe space for them to heal and transform. My goal is to support people as they enhance and expand into the lives they were meant to live.

My work is centred on anti-oppression principles, social justice, intersectionality, and cultural affirmation. I partner with individuals, groups, and organizations to empower them to address colonial and oppressive systems and promote equity and justice for all.

British Columbia

Theresa L. Thomas

Theresa Thomas is an educator, counsellor, mentor, and creator. Theresa began her career working in supplemental education and business management in Houston, Texas before immigrating to Vancouver, BC to continue her education in psychotherapy. Since moving to Vancouver in 2012 Theresa has been focused on learning the origins and impacts of trauma and developing the skills to facilitate healing. Theresa has an MCP in Counselling Psychology from Adler University and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BCACC. For 7 years post-graduate Theresa worked on the front lines with local non-profits to provide accessible and quality therapeutics for those with barriers to support. Theresa is committed to helping people achieve freedom from systemic and societal oppression in every capacity. Theresa works with those who have anxiety, depression, experienced trauma, including violence, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Theresa addresses the distresses that come from navigating shame, marginalization, discrimination, disassociation, and lack of self-worth. Through one-to-one therapy, group counselling, educational workshops, community training, and new counsellor supervision Theresa has sought any opportunity to facilitate healing.

Theresa is passionate about developing personal power and helping individuals and relationships live authentically and thrive in their truths. In 2020 Theresa started her own therapeutic practice; In-Power Counselling & Services, which continues the work she’s done in healing and empowerment. In-Power Counselling & Services provides individual, relational and group counseling, as well as education and enrichment in the form of workshops, trainings, and creating unique psychotherapy tools to destigmatize mental health and wellness. Theresa is also a clinical supervisor for new and developing therapists. Theresa’s hope is to make mental health, daily health!

When she’s not working Theresa is a learner in every sense of the word. She loves to read and consume content and information. She is a sister, a friend, a daughter, a cat aunt ☺ a writer, crafter, painter, and creator.

Winnipeg

Mercy Macharia

My name is Mercy Macharia originally from Kenya and first generation in Canada. I am the Program Supervisor for Siloam Mission’s Arlene Wilson Recovery Centre, an invaluable program that provides participants-centred support individuals on their healing journey to wellness and recovery from addiction and mental health. For the past two years, I have developed programs and initiatives that have enabled participants to access the services they need as they transition from rehabilitation programs to stable housing and gainful employment.

Before my supervisory role with Siloam Mission, I worked with Youth who were Aging out of the care of Child and Family Services. I helped them prepare resumes, made relevant referrals for housing and jobs and established the emotional and social connections they needed as independent youth. For almost a decade, I had the honour of working with seniors as a Health Care Attendant. I also provided social, mental and emotional support to individuals with HIV/AIDS and volunteered with various non-profit organizations. I’m also an accomplished Community Developer, supporting New Immigrants and Refugees, as well as Women who have experienced Intimate Partner Violence.

I have a Diploma in Social Work and am in the final phase of completing my Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Manitoba. I hold a Certificate in Community Capacity Building from Booth University College. I was selected to join this program designed for community leaders who exemplify the motivation and commitment to change their community and are open to learning new leadership skills to implement those positive changes. I’m also a co-facilitator of Ushindi Community Connection, an African women’s support group working with immigrant women and children escaping intimate partner violence.

I’m passionate about advocating for mental health awareness among newcomers in Manitoba and breaking down barriers that limit access to mental health care among people of colour. In my work and community, I passionately advocate for better access to mental health and social services, equity, diversity, and inclusion in workplaces.

While my life currently consists of parenting, school, and work, I enjoy working on my farm – I now have chickens, cattle and two beautiful dogs (Molly & Deisy). I also indulge in good conversations with friends over coffee.

Ontario

Shanique V. Edwards

Shanique Victoria is a Toronto-based psychotherapist. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto in Neuroscience and Psychology and holds a graduate degree from Tyndale University in Clinical Counselling. She is passionate and dedicated to her work with diverse clients who struggle with various mental health and substance abuse disorders.

Shanique also works for the Cundill Centre for Child and Youth Depression at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in various knowledge translation roles in support of the research activities of the Centre. In addition, she currently serves as Lead Researcher for Black Mental Health Canada (BMHC) and is a member of BMHC’s Circle of Leaders.

Shanique is an advocate for the diverse and unique mental health needs of BIPOC individuals. Her areas of research focus on racial trauma and race-based traumatic stress injuries, factors associated with post-traumatic growth and resilience in BIPOC individuals, as well as therapeutically addressing the impact of systemic racism and oppression in order to foster institutional change and racial equity for all BIPOC individuals and communities.

Shanique has conducted mental health workshops for non-profit and professional organizations, college and university student organizations, and corporate businesses. She has developed and facilitated workshops, as well as written broadly on the topic of racial trauma and mental health resilience

Black Mental Health Canada Board of Directors
Northwest Territories & Alberta

‎Ufuoma Odebala

Ufuoma Odebala practices as a Registered Social Worker in clinical practice with registrations in the Northwest Territories and Alberta. She is a sociolegal practitioner, educator, and researcher. She holds a master’s in clinical social work with specialization in community health and well-being. She provides counselling, consulting, and coaching to those experiencing the burden of intersectional racism and allies. She works with individuals and groups dealing with life course transitional challenges as youth, young adult, parents, wives, husbands, family, employee, or employer. She deals with emotional and mental distress including grief, addictions, anxiety, and depression to facilitate wellbeing and accomplishment of desired goals.

As Ufuoma supports her clients’ racial self-efficacy journey, she seeks to nurture community, self-healing and recovery with her Ubuntu, anti-oppressive and decolonizing practice approach. She holds space and witnesses clients’ realities with therapeutic modalities that are solutions focused, empowering and strength based such as narrative therapy along with wraparound case management support for those that require and subscribe for additional assistance. Ufuoma can be contacted through the social media handle of @reezcommunity or www.reezcommunity.org

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