Newcomers and Diverse Populations

Did you know that according to the Labor Market Ottawa Survey, immigrants and children of immigrants make up 44% of the city’s current population.

The two have THAT talk videos for diverse populations highlights the importance of mental health and well-being for everyone in Ottawa.

Are You New to Canada?

Coming to a new country can be both exciting and challenging.  Newcomers experience many changes at the same time including changes in family structure, social networks, and surrounding environment.  As a result, the process of adapting to a new country can be stressful. While you are adjusting to your new home, the video below provides few strategies to take care of yourself and your mental health. 

 Are You New to Canada? Activity Guide

Moving to a new country can be both exciting and challenging.  The process of adapting to a new country can be stressful.  While you are adjusting to your new home, here are some helpful ways to take care of yourself and your mental health.  

Are You New to Canada? Activity Guide (PDF) 893KB 

Transcript

Did you know that almost 22% of Canadians were born outside of Canada? That is 1 in 5 Canadians.

So, many people who live here have come from somewhere else.  Moving to a new country can be exciting.

Visiting new places, meeting new people and seeing new things can be fun. 

At the same time, adjusting to a new climate, culture and language, finding a job, a place to live and making new friends can be difficult. 

And for some people who are coming from unsafe parts of the world, you may face greater challenges like having bad dreams, anger, losing sleep, not eating well, and feeling tired.  You might even feel these things in your body, like having a stomach-ache.  This can make the process of settling in more difficult. 

Feeling a sense of loss, missing your home, feeling like you don`t fit in, or dealing with past trauma, can also be part of settling into a new country.  And some people may even experience discrimination.

It is important to know you are not alone! Many people feel like this and have lived through the same experience. 

So, what has helped them get through it?  Let’s look at an example…

This is Abdul.

Abdul moved to Canada six months ago with his wife and two children.  Although Abdul is happy in his new home, getting used to many new things at once is overwhelming. 

He sometimes feels upset and frustrated because he feels he should know everything. He is trying to find work and support his children in their new school and community. 

Other times he is sad and lonely because he misses his previous home, friends and family.

Although many newcomers feel this way, there are helpful things Abdul can do. 

Getting used to a new way of life is not easy.  It takes time and that is ok. 

Abdul can think about things that has helped him feel better in the past.  He knows that

  • Spending time with family and friends,
  • praying, and
  • playing sports  

Have helped him feel better.

You might be feeling like Abdul, sad, disappointed and missing home.  These feelings can be part of adjusting to a new country and home.  However, if these feelings continue, you can talk to a health professional or someone you trust. 

It can be very helpful.  Talking to someone about your challenges and feelings can help you feel better mentally and physically.

So, let’s review…What are some things you can do?

  • Remember what helped you feel better in the past
  • Focus on the positive and the things you can control
  • Meet with people from your community or your country of origin
  • Call 211 to find programs and services available to newcomers in your city and community
  • Talk to someone you trust.  It can be a family member, a friend, a religious/community leader or a health professional.
  • You are not alone.  Get help when you need it.

Like Abdul, we all need a little help sometime.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.  It is a sign of courage!  As much as we are able to offer help to others, it is ok to seek and accept help when we need it.  

What would help you to adapt to your new home? 

How could you help someone you know adapt to living in a new country? 

It can be something as small as cooking a meal for someone or helping a neighbor shovel snow.

Write down your ideas so you can go back to them when you need them. 

Try it out and see how it goes!  If it is not perfect, that is ok.  Try something else. 

It is amazing how small changes can make a big difference. 

You won’t know unless you try!  

For more information on mental health for newcomers and diverse communities, check out  Settlement.org and www.multiculturalmentalhealth.ca

For more information and resources on mental health and mental illnesses …and when and where to get help…. check out haveTHATtalk.ca

Brought to you by Ottawa Public Health.

 

Mental Health = Health

There are specific cultural influences and beliefs about mental health and mental illness.  People’s interpretation and understanding of these concepts ultimately affect how people view mental health and mental illness.  This is often the basis for many of the misconceptions and stigma surrounding this health issue.  This Mental Health=Health video aims to discuss various cultural understandings and myths about stigma, mental health and illness, and identify factors that promote and protect mental health and build resiliency.  

 Mental Health = Health Activity Guide

Mental health is being able to feel, think and act in ways that help us enjoy life and cope with the challenges we face.  Check out the Activity Guide for ways to help our mental health.

Mental Health = Health Activity Guide (PDF) 682KB

 Transcript

Have you asked yourself what is mental health?

It is not about being happy all the time or the absence of illness

Mental health is being able to feel, think, and act in ways that help us enjoy life and cope with the challenges we face.  

As our life experiences and circumstances change, so can our moods, thoughts, and sense of well-being. 

Many things can effect our mental health in a positive or negative way.  Stressful life situations, adjusting to life in a new country, living through violence, trauma, loss, discrimination and racism are some things that can negatively effect our mental health 

So, what is the difference between mental health and mental illness?

Well, mental illness is a medical diagnosis given by a doctor just like other illness like diabetes. And like diabetes, medications, supports and treatments such as counselling can help someone get better. 

Mental illness can affect people of all ages, gender, education, income levels, and cultures.

However, due to myths and misunderstandings, some people believe that:

  • mental illness is a personal weakness;
  • a curse or punishment from God or;
  • is caused by the devil or evil spirts

This can result in labeling the person, especially when they are perceived as different or described as crazy or psycho. 

Because of these negative beliefs and myths, people with mental illness are treated poorly and face stigma.

So what is stigma?

Stigma is a set of negative beliefs, attitudes and behaviors towards a group of people. 

Stigma exists in every community and in some communities stigma can be so hurtful that it effects work, education, family, marriage and other prospects for the person living with a mental illness and their family.

Stigma can also stop people from being accepted by their family, friends, community, and it can stop them from getting the help they need.

When people living with a mental illness are supported and get the help they need, they can have good mental health.   

Let us look at an example.

This is Mei,

Mei’s family moved to Canada when she was 10 years old.   Lately, she feels sad and does not feel happy doing the things she used to enjoy.  She feels stressed because her parents and teachers expect a lot from her.  She struggles living with one culture at home and another one at school and work.  She does not think her family will understand what she is going through. 

Luckily, Mei is close to her aunt Hong who notices these changes and asks her how she is doing.  She feels relieved that she can talk to someone.  Hong listens to her and together, they write down things Mei can do to feel better like:

  • remembering what helped her in the past;
  • thinking of things she is grateful for;
  • writing down her feelings before she talks to her parents and;
  • speaking to a counsellor at school

Like Mei, we all have days when we do not feel our best.  If you continue to not feel well, it is important to speak with a health professional just like you would if you do not feel well physically. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. 

Write down one thing you can do to stay mentally healthy like:

  • Remembering what helped you deal with stress in the past
  • Making  time for yourself, praying or reflecting on what you are thankful for
  • Reaching out for help from family, friends,  community leaders or health professionals and
  • Getting help early

For more information on mental health for newcomers and diverse communities, check out  Settlement.org and www.multiculturalmentalhealth.ca

For more information and resources on mental health and mental illnesses and when and where to get help,  Visit haveTHATtalk.ca to learn more

Brought to you by Ottawa Public Health

 

have THAT talk Activity Guide for Diverse Populations

Welcome to the have THAT talk Activity Guide for Diverse Populations. This guide contains activities for the following two have THAT talk videos: Are you New to Canada?” and Mental Health=Health (Diverse Populations). You can do the activities yourself, or organize a group and do them together.

have THAT talk Activity Guide for Diverse Populations (PDF) 1.99MB

       

 

 

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