Diversity in Action: Scarborough (DIAS) Promoting Mental Health
Soumise par :
Diversity in Action Scarborough
Psychology Foundation of Canada
Idée créée le:
le 26 septembre, 2011
Gros budget (100 000 $ à 150 000 $)
“Toronto is one of the most diverse cities anywhere on earth, with the second highest percentage of foreign-born residents in the world. Immigrants generally arrive in good health, but a combination of stress, changes in diet and inactivity often translates into worsening health with each decade in the country.” (Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2009)
_Diversity in Action: Scarborough, Adapting Mental Health Services for Newcomer Families (DIAS),_ launched in 2006, is a multi-sector partnership project in Scarborough. The partnership is comprised of a large range of community agencies serving children, youth and families.
Its primary purpose is to develop, pilot and evaluate strategies, supports, services and a process that build both community capacity and the service system capacity to meet mental health-related needs of newcomer families. Our innovative approach leverages community resources to strengthen both families and the communities’ service delivery systems. Our work is being accomplished in partnership with newcomer communities and with the help of ethno-specific agencies.
**DIAS objectives are to:**
1) build the capacity (both knowledge and skills) of newcomers to address their mental health-related needs, including the appropriate use of community supports and services.
2) build the capacity of mainstream agencies to meet the mental health needs of newcomer children, youth and their families, including adapting existing services and supports so they are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
3) improve availability of and access to culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
4) build a model for use in other geographic areas or communities
Scarborough was selected as the initial site for this project because it is a magnet destination for immigrants from around the world. Within the broader community, two ethno-specific groups within Scarborough, the Afghan and Mandarin communities, were selected as the focus of the pilot. While each community has its own unique assets and challenges, both experience issues that affect the mental health of newcomer children, youth and their families.
Our pilot evaluation has shown that we have developed an innovative, outcomes effective, cost efficient approach that can be used with any newcomer group across Canada.
The pilot project has promoted increased access to culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health and mental health promotion services to newcomers in their own community. The project’s success is due in large part to the engagement of a member of the newcomer community to undertake outreach and capacity building in the community. This outreach worker performs the vital role of bridging the gap between families, ethno-specific organizations, such as cultural and religious associations and mainstream organizations, such as schools and health providers.
DIAS has changed the way our service delivery partners view their role in a multi-cultural society, and provided the necessary groundwork for expanding service agencies’ reach through service replication and delivery to the Afghan and Mandarin-speaking communities. The project has helped to identify the specific programs, services and supports that are needed and wanted by those communities, and has strengthened linkages and understanding between ethno-specific community and mainstream agencies. Through interagency collaboration and community outreach, DIAS helped to reduce or remove barriers to service for the Afghan and Mandarin newcomer communities. Our goal now is to replicate our results in other ethno-specific communities.
**A Participant Vignette**
The terminology and acronyms used by educators and service providers can be difficult for anyone to understand. A mother recently arrived with her family was told by her son’s teacher that he had ADHD. She thought that it was a grade like “A, B,…” and never thought of it as a disorder. She had been attending educational sessions provided by the DIAS outreach worker and learned about ADHD. By receiving more information during a DIAS session, she was able to seek appropriate help for her son.
**Building On Strengths: Our Idea**
Using the effective community development model we created through the partnership, we hope to increase our ability to reach out and to work with other newcomer communities to empower them to overcome the barriers to seeking help to adjust to life in Canada. Through the project we will reach out to youth, parents, seniors - all community members, with programming that builds on the strengths of trusted community partners, in a variety of accessible locations.
Financial support will enable DIAS to engage partners within other newcomer communities to develop relationships and make linkages within that cultural group, to train existing staff in the service agencies and to act as a consultant to other organizations e.g. schools, in the community. Funds are also needed to cover basic expenses such as travel and childcare for the families taking part in the activities.