Mental Health First Aid training for leaders from spiritual communities


Building Bridges for Inclusive Care is an initiative being implemented by the Peel Service Collaborative which has dedicated itself to building bridges between the formal and informal (e.g. faith-based) mental health and addiction support systems in PeelThe Peel region has one of the highest religious affiliation rates in the Greater Toronto area and for many believers, their spiritual community is one of the first places to turn to for help.  In recognition of the informal support faith communities play in mental health care, community leaders are invited to take part in Mental Health First Aid training.
During the first week of March 2014, ten leaders from spiritual communities completed a 2-day course on Mental Health First Aid for adults who work with youth.  The leaders were a diverse group including Buddhist Venerables, a Muslim Imam, and Anglican priests, amongst others. To date, 33 leaders from faith communities have been trained through the 14-hour Mental Health First Aid program.  An initiative of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Mental Health First Aid program has been shown to reduce stigma, raise awareness, and provide tools to support and connect community members in need with formal mental health support.  
For more information on the Mental Health First Aid program offered throughout Canada, please visit:
If you are a leader from a spiritual community in the Peel region and you are interested in taking an upcoming course in Mental Health First Aid, offered at no cost, please contact Sarah Waldman at or call 416-535-8501 X 36608


Vidéo : Ghayda Hassan – Lignes directrices pour guider le travail auprès des immigrants

Sorry, this entry is only available in French. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

Dr. Ghayda Hassan est professeur en psychologie à l’université the Québec à Montréal. Elle est l’une des auteurs des lignes directrices cliniques fondées sur des preuves pour les immigrants et les réfugiés. Dans cette entrevue elle aborde des lignes directrices pour la santé mentale des immigrants et des réfugiés au Canada. Elle explique les raisons pour lesquelles ces lignes directrices sont nécessaires. La santé des populations migrantes est souvent influencée par les mêmes aspects des déterminants sociaux que celui des autres Canadiens, mais aussi par d’autres déterminants en raison de leur statut de migrant. Ceux-ci incluent des obstacles à l’intégration sociale et économique, les barrières d’accès aux services sociaux et de santé en raison de la langue et les différences culturelles, le manque de réseaux sociaux. C’est important de reconnaitre ces obstacles peuvent également exercer une influence significative.

Invisible Children

For many illegal immigrants who have children, one of their main concerns is access to schooling. Without valid documentation, the parents are often forced to pay school fees for their children, which is not always possible. Some parents decide not to send their children to school, out of fear of being identified. In the cases where the school admits a child without papers, they do not receive a student number (“permanent code” in Quebec), which affects their access to a diploma at the end of their studies. Doubly vulnerable due to their their illegal status and their age, these children are effectively invisible within the education system.
A group formed of organizations such as the Centre des travailleurs immigrants, La Mission communiautaire de Montréal and La Commission des droits de la personne, along with other researchers and smaller community organizations combined their efforts with the goal of obtaining access to education for all children in Quebec, regardless of status.
Before the new school year began in Fall 2013, the group was met with their first achievement: the Ministry of Education put forward certain measures to allow more children without status into Quebec schools and to be given a permanent code. This access is limited to only certain categories of youth, but the group is buoyed by their progress and by the opening of dialogue with the government.
A feature in French about Francesca Meloni, one of the members of the group working for access to education for children without status, can be found on the Sherpa Recherche site here. You can also read Meloni’s PhD thesis in English, Living with Uncertainty: An Ethongraphic Study on the Agency and Belonging of Undocumented Youth in Canada here.

Podcast: Post-partum depression and immigrant women


Paola Ardiles, founder and network lead at speaks about postpartum depression (PPD) within the immigrant population in Canada. What are some of the specific challenges immigrant women with PPD face? What services are out there to help and what do caregivers need to know about working with immigrant women with PPD?

To read more on this subject, please consult the April 2013 article “Cultural background and socioeconomic influence of immigrant and refugee women coping with postpartum depression” published in The Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.