An Ontario-based organization puts holistic mental health services at the heart of the settlement process for newcomers in Canada.
Called Newcomer’s Health and Wellness Program and funded in the amount of $ 2.2 million by Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the new initiative is designed to meet the needs of each newcomer individually and broadly is.
The Canadian Mental Health Association, York Region and South Simcoe (CMHA-YRSS) – a branch of a national nonprofit organization serving the York area in the Greater Toronto Area – is behind the new initiative focused on improving mental health and health Results for migrants and refugees ages 12 and older.
Most of the current research on the mental health of new migrants indicates that they are particularly sensitive to mental health problems. According to a recent study published by Statistics Canada and the IRCC, when they arrive in Canada, immigrants are healthier than the Canadian-born population – a phenomenon known as the “healthy immigrant effect”.
However, due to cultural differences, language barriers, and the stress and strain of the process of integration into a new society, this initial health benefit often disappears.
“Mental health concerns seen by newcomers include PTSD, accidental stress, grief, and loss from experiences in their country,” she told CIC News, June Maranan, CMHA-YRSS Newcomers’ health and wellness director.
“Studies also show that refugee and immigrant populations significantly increase the incidence of mental distress, depression, anxiety, and trauma effects.”
Settlement agencies and local mental health care providers offer support services that are accessible to newcomers facing these challenges but do not design most of the existing resources with specific and unique realities keeping the immigrant population in mind has been done.
Some newcomers may also be unaware of the many services available to them, while others may be reluctant to ask for help.
The new CMHA-YRSS program aims to address all these gaps. The program, launched last August, covers a wide range of mental health and outreach activities. They include mental and physical health assessment, counseling and psychotherapy, health and wellness promotion and training, family counseling, as well as trauma-specific services.
An important part of the program is to create a safe and welcoming place for the delivery of mental health care services.
“Interpretations will be used to provide services in the preferred language of customers, with screening tools used exclusively for immigrants and refugees. Services will be provided in a location that they are familiar with. “Maranan explained.
“There will also be a consideration for various ways of describing mental health experiences and making sure to meet the spiritual and religious needs of clients.”
The new CMHA-YRSS program was developed with the understanding that immigrants are a diverse group, and that each of them has very different ways of combating stress and adversity in life. This makes it important to provide care to each person in a way that considers the uniqueness of their journey.
For this reason, culturally appropriate mental health awareness will play an important role in how settlement agencies and community care providers involved in the new program will be encouraged to engage in the care delivery process.
“It means that] people are working to make sure that people within the community know what to look for when working with new people and can be understood in ways that they can specifically address mental health. But are also in mental distress without discussing it. It will also take into account the experiences of new people and various experiences that may cause them mental trouble, “Maranan said.
CMHA-YRSS received three years of funding for the project with the possibility of a two-year extension. Thus, part of the program will focus on building the capacity of the community to respond to the needs of new people and ensure that their support continues throughout the duration of the program.
With the current Canadian population of 7.5 million immigrants expected to nearly double by 2036, understanding and supporting the physical and mental health of all newcomers is becoming increasingly important.
The introduction of the Newcomers Health and Well-Being Program states that governments and local community organizations are committed to ensuring that all people living in Canada have equal, quality mental health services to help them live full, meaningful, and successful lives.