The WHO states that mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community” (World Health Organization 2019).

Mental Health Challenges:
Everyone faces events in their day to day life which, if not addressed, could challenge their mental health. Common challenges include:

  • Losses (loved ones, health, job)
  • Employment (loss, new, retirement)
  • Life events (wedding, pregnancy)
  • Housing
  • Relationships
  • Finances/Legal
  • Health

Positive Mental Health:
Mental Health affects how you think, feel and act. People with mental health are:

  • Resilient
  • Content
  • Self-confident

Achieving Mental Health:
Taking care of yourself includes being involved with activities that make you “feel good.” Ask us about:

  • Volunteering
  • Stress management
  • Social Support

Myths and Facts

Myth: Canadians that have mental illness get treatment right away
Fact: About 50% of people who suffer from depression or anxiety have not seen a doctor (CMHA, 2019).

Source: CMHA (2019). Fast Facts about Mental Illness. Retrieved Fri, Feb. 8, 2018 from

Myth: Mental Illness in Canada receives the proper funding it deserves
Fact: Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in Canada, but there is not enough money for taking care of these suffering people. Mental Illness constitutes about 10% of the burden of disease in Ontario, yet mental illness receives only 7% of health expenditures, which means there is a lack of 1.5 billion dollars of funding (CAMH, 2019).

Source: CAMH (2019). Mental Health Statistics. Retrieved Fri, Feb. 8, 2019 from

Myth: Immigrants health gets better as they spend more time in Canada
Fact: A large amount of studies have shown that immigrants health is better than the native born population in Canada at first arrival. This is called the healthy immigrant effect, and it is also noted that the immigrants health tends to deteriote to the host country when they stay for a prolonged period, which can lead to mental health issues such as depression and other mood disorders (Vang et al., 2017)

Source: Vang, Z. M., Sigouin, J., Flenon, A., & Gagnon, A. (2017). Are immigrants healthier than native-born Canadians? A systematic review of the healthy immigrant effect in Canada. Ethnicity & health, 22(3), 209-241.

General Newcomer and Refugee Facts:

  • Studies on refugees in Canada noted an increased risk of PTSD and depression, an increased rate of mental health problems in refugee children, and an increased risk for psychotic disorders (Endicott, 2017; Danput et al., 2017).
  • Oftentimes the refugee might feel psychological stressors are inappropriate to discuss with the physician because it might have been a taboo topic in their country (Krimayer et al., 2011).
  • Another consideration is their own cultural forms of healing or remedies that they use when they feel unwell, thereby not feeling the need to use the health-care system in Canada (Krimayer et al., 2011).
  • When refugees in Canada encounter some level of distress, they are less likely to access mental health services because of the low level of trust, poor access to services, language/cultural barriers, fear of stigma, missed time at work, and language difficulty with health practitioners (Kirmayer et al., 2011; Vasilevska & Simich, 2010).
  • One of the biggest factors to consider in addressing lack of resources is having culturally appropriate care and interpretation services for newcomers who do not speak English (Kirmayer et al., 2011; Vasilevska & Simich, 2010)