by Lisa Mackay
As funders and arts organizations focus their attention on creating more equitable, diverse, and inclusive environments and practices for IBPOC, they often encounter a lack of specific resources for racialized minorities. Certainly this was the case for spoken word artist, co-host of the Unlearning Channel, and current RAMP participant MelVee X when she was seeking help and support in Calgary. far. I have encountered racism from both professionals and fellow mental health patients." In addition to her performance and hosting work, MelVee took it upon herself to begin compiling a list of resources that explicitly offered or focused on the mental health of BIPOC communities. "I thought of the resources I would have needed when I was feeling my worst. I created the resource I want and need to see in the world. The initial compiling was done by me alone and as I told people about the document they would send resources my way. Largely though, this has been my own efforts.”
“I set out to be as expansive as possible in the range of mental health options included. The website began as a Google Doc that continued to grow over time. I decided finally that to make the resource more accessible to a wider range of people, it made sense to transform the information in the document to a website.” The feedback she has received has been overwhelmingly positive, and she hopes that those who need it most can find it. "I have received feedback saying it is a much-needed resource and is long overdue for this city. Quite a few of the resources listed I have direct experience with personally or professionally, but not all of them. I have been sharing with my networks, personally, professionally, and artistically, but only on a small scale because I cannot afford to pay for advertising. I also believe the quality of the resource will speak for itself and people will continue to share it.”
When asked if the resource would also be helpful for white allies, she responded: “The whole website is relevant to white people. The more resources you know about mental health, the better you can help others and be a great ally. White mental health professionals absolutely need to know about this resource. Most are not qualified to effectively treat BIPOC mental health patients when it comes to the mental health implications of racism because they do not have lived experience of racism and/or a thorough knowledge of anti-racism in mental health practice. In my culture, knowledge and resources are meant to be shared; not hoarded. The more people know, the more empowered they are and the healthier all of our communities are overall.”
With gratitude to MelVee X, we have added several of her resources to our Resources for the Arts page, along with the site itself: BIPOC Mental Health YYC.