Special populations course: Yazidi refugees

Supporting the mental health of Yazidi refugees




An introduction to supporting the mental health of Yazidi refugees in Canada

As a precursor to the full course, a pre-course module was developed on the history and culture of Yazidi refugees, their experiences with persecution and genocide and effects on their mental health. The pre-course will prepare you for the fall 2021 course.

Access the pre-course here




If you are interested in learning more on how to better support the mental health of Yazidi refugees, you can add your name and contact information to be notified when registration opens!

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Course overview and information



Type of course: Self-directed 

For whom: Settlement, social and health service providers working with Yazidi refugees in Canada 

Location: Online 

Time commitment: 4 weeks

Cost: Free

It is recommended, but not mandatory, that learners first complete the Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health Program online course as it provides a comprehensive background on supporting the mental health needs of immigrants and refugees in Canada.

The course is designed to build settlement, social and health service provider’s knowledge on Yazidi refugees and to build capacity and responsive services for the settlement and health service sectors. This online course aims to increase awareness of the social, historical and cultural factors influencing the mental health of Yazidi refugees arriving to Canada. 

The course’s interactive learning environment lets you engage with experts in the field and thousands of service providers across Canada.




The need



In 2016, the Government of Canada resettled more than 1,000 Yazidi refugees in London, Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary, and other communities in Canada. The resettlement was in response to the 2014 massacre conducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to systematically eradicate the Yazidi population in Northern Iraq.

In November 2018, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration recommended that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada build the capacity of service providers to support the mental health needs of Yazidi women and children. The experience of persecution and genocide in their homeland have left many Yazidi with mental and physical trauma. The culture and traditions of Yazidis require knowledge and understanding from the Canadian perspective to manage the mental health challenges and improve settlement conditions. The Committee learned that, “…in general, refugee populations are more likely than the general population to be exposed to and/or encounter social factors that can affect someone’s risk of developing a mental health problem or illness. The resettled Yazidi women and children have faced a specific set of factors that make them vulnerable to mental health problems or illnesses.” 

This course has been developed in response to the House of Commons recommendations and the needs expressed by service providers working with this population. It is designed to build the capacity of the settlement and health service sectors in proving culturally responsive and trauma informed services that focus on the unique mental health needs of Yazidi’s.

Course modules



The course will consist of five online modules:

Module 1: Yazidi Refugees in Canada  

Learn about the history, culture and geography of the Yazidi people and some of the challenges this special population has faced.

Module 2: Mental health of Yazidi Refugees  

Learn about the mental health needs of the Yazidis and their unique traits, culture and experiences.  

Module 3: Yazidi Women and Children  

Learn about the unique mental health needs and supports for Yazidi women and children. 

Module 4: Promising Practices in the Support of Mental Health for Yazidis 

Learn how existing services and supports might better adapt to deliver better integration with supporting mental health for Yazidi family and communities. 

Module 5: Self-Care Techniques and Practices  

Learn how to assist yourself, develop self-awareness and apply self-care that may be needed when working with survivors of trauma and the Yazidi population.