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


Podcast: Common mental health problems among immigrants


In this podcast, Dr. Laurence J. Kirmayer describes the key points of the common mental health problems review of the Canadian Collaboration for Immigrant and Refugee Health Evidence-based clinical guidelines.

Key points:

  • Among immigrants, the prevalence of common mentalhealth problems is initially lower than in the generalpopulation, but over time, it increases to become similar tothat in the general population.
  • Refugees who have had severe exposure to violence often have higher rates of trauma-related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain or other somatic syndromes.
  • Assessment of risk for mental health problems includes consideration of premigration exposures, stresses and uncertainty during migration, and postmigration resettlement experiences that influence adaptation and health outcomes.
  • Clinical assessment and treatment effectiveness can be improved with the use of trained interpreters and culture brokers when linguistic and cultural differences impede communication and mutual understanding.

This podcast was made with reference to the following paper:

Kirmayer, L. J., Narasiah, L., Munoz, M., Rashid, M., Ryder, A. G., Guzder, J., . . . Pottie, K. (2010). Common mental health problems in immigrants and refugees: general approach in primary care. Can Med Assoc J. doi: cmaj.090292 [pii]

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.