Immigrant and refugee mental health course

Start date options: April 29, 2019

Duration: 6 weeks, approx 20-25 hrs to complete 

Location: Online

Cost: Free

Contact us at:, if you have any questions. 

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The Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health Project’s online course is a free, self-directed training that will offer a comprehensive overview of immigrant and refugee mental health, focusing on subgroups at risks. It will provide in-depth discussion on how context and culture influence mental health and mental illness, as well as providing sample tools and resources for use in various practice settings, and offering evidence-based strategies and interventions to help you provide better services and supports to different immigrant and refugee populations. You will find practical examples of promising and innovative practices effective in improving outcomes for different groups of immigrants and refugees.

The course is designed to provide a uniquely interactive learning experience where you can consult with experts in the field, share ideas and experiences with hundreds of service providers from all over Canada, and learn strategies you would use on-the-job. Using, online learning technology, the course will offer a balance of background information, current research evidence, practical information and video demonstrations.

Two streams of the online course will be offered: (1) settlement and social service providers stream (2) health service providers stream.

Course for Settlement and Social Service Providers



This course stream is intended for settlement workers or social service providers in Canada, who in their current training or role conduct needs assessments, provide settlement/social service information, and facilitate referrals. Participants in this stream may include service providers such as: community outreach facilitators, housing counsellors, employment facilitators, or family support workers.

*social workers, among other professionals, may benefit from each stream. However, you should choose the stream that is most relevant to your individual trainings, roles and responsibilities.

Health care professional stream

Course for Health Service Providers



This course stream is intended for health service providers in Canada, who in their current training or role conducts mental health screening/assessment, diagnosis, or treatment/therapy, and are comfortable with basic clinical language. Participants in this stream may include service providers such as: physicians, nurse practitioners, or psychologists/psychiatrists.

Course outline



  • Module 1: Immigration and the Social Determinants of Health
  • Module 2: Introduction to Mental Disorders
  • Module 3: Mental Health Needs of special Populations
  • Module 4: Treatment and Support (HP) Counselling and Case management (SW)
  • Module 5: Service Use and Pathways to Care
  • Module 6: Mental Health Promotion and Partnerships
  • Module 7: Self-care and Self-awareness

Immigration and the social determinants of health: Provides general information about mental health and immigration in Canada, including relevant legislation, history, key issues and statistics. The module then outlines the social determinants of health, which are fundamental to understanding and addressing mental health needs in general and in immigrants and refugees in particular.

Introduction to Mental Disorders: Examines the most common mental disorders experienced by immigrants and refugees.

Mental health needs of special populations: Explores the unique mental needs of different vulnerable immigrant and refugee groups, including women, children and youth, seniors, survivors of torture and LGBTQ.

Counselling and case management: The SW stream reviews basic counselling and case-management skills to optimize communication with immigrants and refugees seeking mental health care and strategies for providing trauma-informed services.

Treatment and support: The HP stream focuses on the treatment and support of immigrants and refugees with mental disorders, including models of treatment and treatment interventions.

Service use and pathways to care: Outlines the factors that help and hinder whether and how newcomers seek services for mental health problems.

Mental health promotion and partnerships: Focuses on mental health promotion, the role that social support plays in promoting mental wellness, and the related roles of community development and partnerships.

Self-care and self-awareness: Provides strategies to promote self-care, cultural competence and continuing education.