Mental Health Week 2019

We talk a lot about physical health. This can mean eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. By focusing on these outside appearances, we sometimes ignore what’s going on inside with our minds and mental health.

Mental health is especially important to newcomers, immigrants, and refugees. The difficult process of moving and acculturating to life in Canada can be difficult, even traumatic. Finding access to a home, finding a job, and the separation of family can result in feelings of helplessness, exclusion, and depression. At this point, some newcomers will begin to question their place in Canada and feel trapped, further shaking their mental health.

Finding Services

Many newcomers are unfamiliar with the different local services which can assist with their mental health. These services can be needs-focused, such as food banks or employment supports. They can also be support-focused, and here at CIES we have two such programs.

LINC Quality of Life

Students (and their children) in our LINC program have access to a special support program that identifies possible problems and helps newcomers live a better life. If you are struggling with fear, anxiety, troubles sleeping, sadness, and other negative emotions, LINC Quality of Life can help. The program helps newcomers make referrals to agencies in the city that can assist with their personal challenges.

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The Refugee and Newcomers Emotional Wellness (ReNEW) program examines mental health and supports in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Calgary. For people who are new to Canada, it provides 1-on-1 counselling for issues related to culture shock, alcoholism, anxiety, domestic abuse, financial difficulties, isolation, and post-war emotions.

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Arms Open Mentoring

For people who feel lost, lonely, or confused, the Arms Open Mentoring program helps offer personalized support. Paired with a student volunteer from the University of Calgary, newcomers are helped to with making their way around the city and building connections in their new community.

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The Benefits

Mental health is about feeling connected to your community, yourself, and being able to cope with stress and make the most out of life. Everybody needs a supportive environment, and at CIES we strive to have a large impact by providing newcomers with a sense of self, purpose, belonging, contributions, enjoyment, and resilience.

If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, reach out to us or one of the agencies listed below.

Canadian Mental Health Association

Access Mental Health

Distress Centre

Calgary Counselling Centre

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