With Dr. Ghayda Hassan and Vince Pietropaolo

The Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health Project facilitates a virtual Community of Practice (CoP) comprised of health, settlement and social services providers across Canada who support the mental health of immigrants and refugees. The CoP online discussion board allows providers to pose questions to the Project’s panel of subject matter experts (SMEs). We will be bringing you some of the questions posed by providers and answers provided by the SMEs.


“Hello, I am a social worker in the hospital (acute care). Usually, I have seen many refugees admitted to the hospital for what seems like "physical illnesses" (pseudo-seizures, gastro issues and so on). Due to the nature of acute care, there is no time to really go in depth into counselling or offering mental health support. What would be the best way to support someone coming for such a short period of time? what should I be mindful of?”

Response by Dr. Ghayda Hassan, Psychologist, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)




As an ESL Instructor I get to see my predominately refugee, newcomer clients more frequently than their settlement workers. This in turn leads to strong relationships being formed. The vast majority of my students have shared their experiences and concerns with me. It feels like I am ignoring the elephant in the room by not addressing mental health in the classroom. Am I over stepping my boundaries as an instructor? And if not, what routine activities can I use to promote a sense of well-being?

Response by Vince Pietropaolo, General Manager, Mental Health Services Program, COSTI




- Have a good or promising practice you’d like to share with other providers on how you are supporting the mental health or influencing the social determinants of mental health for immigrants and refugees? Then contact us at irmhproject@camh.ca

Explore other topics