Newcomers’ Health and Well-Being Program Will Focus on Preventative Care
A new Ontario-based organization called the Newcomers’ Health and Well-Being Program aims to provide newcomers with holistic mental health services as a part of their settlement in Canada.
This initiative was created in association with the Canadian Mental Health Association and the York Region & South Simcoe (CMHA-YRSS) – a branch of a national non-profit organization serving the York Region in the GTA – and will focus on improving the mental health and overall well-being of immigrants and refugees aged 12 years and older.
This includes working towards improving communities’ capacity to respond to the needs of newcomers and ensure that they continue to be supported beyond their involvement in the program.
“This [means] working to ensure that those within the community know what to look for when working with newcomers and the ways in which they may explain that they are in mental distress without specifically discussing mental health. It will also take into consideration the experiences of the newcomers and various experiences which may be causing them mental distress,” Jun Maranan, CMHA-YRSS Newcomers’ Health and Well-being Director of Services, told CIC News.
The program offers a broad range of mental health and outreach activities including:
- Mental and physical health assessment
- Counselling and psychotherapy
- Health and wellness promotion and training
- Family counselling
- Trauma-specific services
The organization will also ensure that the spiritual and religious needs of the newcomers it works with are met while providing tailored services in their native language that are unique to their own personal journey.
The organization has received $2.2 million in funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for three years to help the Newcomers’ Health and Well-Being Program create a safe and welcoming space for the delivery of mental health care services while meeting the needs of each newcomer it serves in a personalized and comprehensive manner.
Why Immigrants And Refugees Are More Susceptible to Mental Health Struggles
According to a recent study published by Statistics Canada and the IRCC, immigrants and refugees are particularly vulnerable to mental health struggles due to the stress that comes from experiencing cultural differences, language barriers, and integration into a new society.
“Some of the mental health concerns seen by the newcomer population include PTSD from experiences in their home country, acculturative stress, grief and loss,” said Maranan. “Studies also show that the refugee and immigrant population have a significant increase in the incidents of mental distress, depression, anxiety and impacts of trauma.”
Furthermore, many newcomers are often unaware of the mental health services that exist, while others that are aware can be reluctant to seek out help.
The new Newcomers’ Health and Well-Being Program hopes to address these issues in order to help newcomers better integrate to Canada while helping them address their mental health concerns.
To learn more about the Newcomers’ Health and Well-Being Program, visit their website at: https://cmha-yr.on.ca/learn/news/newcomerprogram/