Skills for Change – Mental Health and Wellness Department


AUDIENCE   Settlement, social and health service providers

POPULATION OF INTEREST   Immigrants and refugees

LOCATION   Toronto, ON

THE NEED   Many newcomers face several barriers and challenges when arriving to Canada, and this is often coupled with feelings of stress.

WHAT'S PROMISING   A holistic approach to improving the mental health and well-being of newcomers that includes services to overcome barriers and to manage their stress by learning coping skills.

KEY TAKEAWAY   Skills for Change collaborates with other community agencies/partnerships, providing information about relevant services and resources to clients as needed.

Skills for Change – Mental Health and Wellness Department

Skills for Change pioneer’s programs that respond to shifting immigration and workshop trends and lead to employment. They provide professional workshops, settlement counselling and other services to over 14,000 people a year. From its inception, Skills for Change assumed a leadership role to address policy issues, undertake public education and research on issues affecting immigrants and refugees. At the same time, we pioneered innovative service models specific to internationally trained professionals.

At Skills for Change, The Mental Health and Wellness Department provides counselling, interactive workshops, support groups, and educational sessions. These include one-on-one counselling, COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency Program, Women Connecting with Women and the Virtual Connections Program. These services create a safe and supportive space for participants to discuss and reflect on their life experiences. The purpose is to support and empower individuals who may need to reduce and manage their stress, learn healthy coping skills, and holistically improve their mental and emotional well-being.

The services are offered by registered social workers, registered psychotherapists and/or Canadian certified counsellors. The mental health team is supervised by a clinical supervisor at the agency. These colleagues are also registered with the relevant regulatory bodies.

We collaborate with other community agencies/partnerships, providing information about relevant services and resources to clients as needed, as well as inviting guest speakers by conducting essential outreach activities. Skills for Change is funded locally, provincially, and nationally to help newcomers such as immigrants, convention refugees, and permanent residents overcome certain barriers and challenges they may face when arriving in Canada. For instance, language barriers, food security, transportation, mental health challenges, employment, settlement and much more. Our mental health services are available to anyone but are tailored to address the stress factors newcomers face in Canada.

The mental health and wellness program on its own supports visible minority people with disabilities and/or deaf, First Nations, Métis or Inuit, Black Racialized Immigrant, refugee and/or non-status, official language minority (francophone), LGBTQ2+, Older/Seniors/Elders, youth, women, girls and much more.

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