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Finding Supports as a Newcomer to Canada

Moving to a new country can be challenging and stressful. That is why at Canadian Mental Health Association, York Region and South Simcoe (CMHA-YRSS), we offer language-specific resources like the Newcomers’ Health and Well-Being Program, which can help people who are struggling with this transition.

With the newcomers that we serve, some of the most common struggles we see include increased family stress, financial strain, difficulties raising a family in a new country, as well as accessing service in the language you are most comfortable.

Mental Health Services for Newcomers

If you are looking for support with your mental health, professional services are available, including:

  • Counselling services: to help you cope with some of life’s stressors.
  • Support groups: that will help you connect with those with similar experiences. For example, at CMHA-YRSS, we offer Family Support Groups in various languages including Chinese, Farsi, Tamil and Urdu that can help you learn more about support loved ones with their mental health.
  • Places you can call: if you are looking for someone to connect with in this current moment. For those who live in York Region and South Simcoe 310-COPE is a 24/7 Community Crisis Response Service that you can reach out to if needed.
  • Mental Health Education Groups: Through the Newcomers’ Program we offer a variety of workshops on everything from Purposeful Parenting, Stress Management, Nutrition and more that can increase your knowledge in these areas. Get connected with our program to learn more.
  • Mental Health & Case Management support: Through the Newcomers’ Program we offer supportive counselling, system navigation and advocacy.
  • Social Work support: Through the Newcomers’ Program we offer assistance with community services, housing and government support
  • Guided Self-Help Programs: BounceBack Ontario is a free, guided self-help program that is effective in helping people aged 15 and above who experiencing stress, anxiety or depression.

Although a transition to a new country is never easy, our Newcomers’ Health and Well-Being Program and other resources and supports mentioned above, will play a key role in helping you feel more at home.

Family of four walking down the street

Support your Personal Well-Being

While we encourage you to reach out to us for support, here are some things you can do in the meantime to support your own personal well-being.

Find Social Supports

According to CMHA National, finding social supports in your community is essential, as they play an important role in helping us cope with setbacks, solve problems, improve our self-esteem and manage stress. Although it can be difficult to know where to start in terms of accessing social supports, here are some ideas:

  • Join a local library and access programming: Here is a list of libraries available across York Region, so you can find one that is closest to you.
  • Find a way to get involved in a physical activity within a social setting: Joining a local gym or intramural team might be a good way to develop new social supports.
  • Find play groups for you and your children: Check out websites like EarlyON and Life With Baby York Region North to find playgroup meetups or events going on in your area.
  • Explore faith-based connections: Here is a link of religious organizations and church groups in York Region, so you can find the one that best suits you.
  • Find ways to connect with other newcomers: Many libraries and community groups offer meetups for newcomers. We also offer various ways to connect with other Newcomers through our program.
Male sitting in a chair holding a notebook

Community Resources

Aside from social supports, there are also community resources, which can make your transition into a new country easier, by helping you with important tasks and milestones. These include:

  • Places to support your settlement needs
  • Employment programs for finding jobs and transferring previous experience to Canada
  • Places to help you learn an official language
  • An ability to find health care in the language you prefer
  • Community legal supports that are affordable with some geared towards newcomers

A great place to start for the topics above is the York Region Newcomers Guide, which provides you information on everything you need from arriving, getting around, education, government and more.

Two females sitting down, having a conversation. Older female is consoling the younger female

About the Newcomers’ Health and Well-Being Program

Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Newcomers’ Health and Well-Being provides mental health and primary care services to newcomers 12 years of age or older in York Region and South Simcoe who have physical and mental health concerns.

Our approach focuses on you as a whole person. That includes your language, culture, and community. We understand about trauma and bad memories. We help you to build on your strengths. For more information on this program and how to get connected, visit our program page on the CMHA-YRSS website.

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