The immigrant population in northern York region, South Simcoe and the surrounding area has been constantly rising for many years, creating a greater need for cultural supports.
To address this growing demand, the Canadian Mental Health Association York Region and South Simcoe (CMHA-YRSS) has created a new program called “the Newcomers Health and Well-being program” to meet the unique mental health and primary care needs of immigrants and refugees in the region.
This program is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). CMHA- YRSS is a branch of National non-profit organization, serves in York region in the Greater Toronto- Area.
Through the new program, CMHA-YRSS will work with the settlement sector to provide culturally necessary training, with the objective of reducing reliance on emergency departments, crisis services and police.
According to CMHA-YRSS, major challenges faced by the new comers have significance incidents of mental stress, depression, anxiety and impacts of Trauma. Some newcomers may not know the services available to them. Some may not be comfortable to seek any help.
An important part of the program is the creation of safe and welcoming spaces for providing mental health services. In order to ensure services are delivered in the preferred language of the clients, Interpretation will be used. The screening tool used for this purpose is specifically designed for immigrants and refugees. The services will be provided in a place they’re familiar with.
There will also be considerations regarding the different ways of describing mental health experiences and ensuring that the spiritual and religious needs of the clients are met. The CMHA-YRSS obtained three years of project support, with the prospect of an extension of two years.
Part of the initiative will concentrate on developing the capacity of the group to respond to new comers needs and ensure that they continue to receive help beyond the length of the program.
It is becoming increasingly important to consider and promote the physical and mental health of all newcomers.
The Health and Well-Being Program for Newcomers demonstrates that governments and local community groups are committed to ensuring that all Canadian people get access to affordable , high quality mental health services to help them lead full, meaningful and healthy lives.