“It’s not only about the migrants, it’s about the migrants and us as a majority… just like in a couple we’re part of the equation.”
Cécile Rousseau, Director of the Transcultural Child Psychiatry Clinic at the Montreal Children’s Hospital proposes a widening of focus when we think of immigrants and mental health to include the majority population. How does a host population feel about immigrants? Is the host community welcoming to this group? Dr. Rousseau discusses inter-community tensions between immigrant groups and the majority population and the tendency, when either group is feeling threatened, to close inwards, exacerbating tensions. Integration and adaptation into a new community is an important factor in the mental health of new Canadians and Dr. Rousseau stresses that all Canadians, new and established, play a part in it.
“The whole trajectory of development is shaped by cultural expectations”
Dr. Jaswant Guzder, head of Child Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital discusses the influence of culture in her work with families. In her practice, she often encounters children and parents negotiating between two cultures, a Western one which often emphasizes individualism and the patient’s culture of origin which may put emphasis on interdependence. Dr. Guzder suggests strategies for clinicians to create a culturally safe space to share differing cultural opinions without shame or judgement. In order to provide the best care for children and families, how can clinicians understand families’ interpretation of their cultural ideas ? What is the best way forward in instilling cultural competence amongst clinicians to identify their own cultural blind spots?