How Canada cares for young refugees

How Canada cares for young refugees

The government is investing millions to support youth mental health.

Recognizing the gravity of the circumstances faced by people rescued in a foreign country from military conflicts at home, Canadian authorities are seeking to facilitate their access to life-saving mental health services.

Kids Help Phone has been providing mental health services to youth across Canada since 1989 and counsels young people with addictions and mental health problems. The services are free and confidential (unless the counsellor considers the child or someone else to be in danger), and they are available 24/7.

The organization does not provide legal or medical advice, but it can get into a caller's problem and tell you where to go. Immigrant minors can call the Kids Help Phone if they have problems at school, discrimination, or racism.

On June 20, 2022, World Refugee Day, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada announced an agreement with Kids Help Phone to provide counselling services in Ukrainian, Russian, Dari and Pashto.

"We need to ensure that newcomers have access to resources to help them deal with past trauma and rebuild their lives," notes Sean Fraser, Secretary of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. — Creating this culturally sensitive, safe space is especially important when it comes to vulnerable youth, and this funding will ensure that those fleeing conflict, including Afghans and Ukrainians, have the support they need to reach their full potential while in Canada."

The $2 million CAD funding calls for expanding the professional Kids Help Phone psychological help service to 100 languages by 2025.

To speak to an advisor, call 1-800-668-6868 from anywhere in Canada. You can call from your phone, Skype and Google Voice. To let the answering robot know right away that you need support in a language other than English, press 3.

If you have difficulty speaking, you can ask for help using Facebook messenger.

In addition to mental health counselling by telephone, there are now over 500 service providers in Canada who provide pro bono adjustment services to Ukrainians who come to Canada through the CUAET program. Youth support includes:

  • assistance to schoolchildren and graduates;
  • organization of entertainment events;
  • mentoring programs;
  • assistance in skills development and preparation for employment.
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