Newcomer Initiative for Arabic-Speaking Youth
AUDIENCE Settlement, social, and health service providers
POPULATION OF INTEREST Immigrants and refugees, Arabic-speaking youth
THE NEED There is a lack of in-language mental health services available for the high number of Arabic-speaking young people in Canada.
WHAT'S PROMISING Kids Help Phone recently launched a pilot service through which they are offering telephone counselling service, in Arabic, facilitated by an interpreter service, for a trial period of six months. This service also works to ensure that the professional counsellors are well-trained in aspects of cultural humility and multicultural counselling.
KEY TAKEAWAY This has involved comprehensive research, the collection of feedback from Arabic-speaking youth populations and speaking with multiple stakeholders working in the newcomer space to effectively plan and implement a service that is sensitive to the needs of immigrants and refugees with a lens on the Arabic-speaking community.
Ravina Anthony, Project Manager, Newcomer and Diversity Initiatives, Kids Help Phone writes:
Our initial research indicated that there was a lack of in-language mental health services available for the high number of Arabic-speaking young people who have entered Canada in recent years as refugees and immigrants. Moreover, the English or French proficiency levels of this particular population, that is Arabic-speaking communities, was generally lower than newcomers from other countries (Houle, 2019). This pilot service was developed to test the feasibility of offering over-the-phone, professional counselling, facilitated by interpreters in a newcomer-specific language.
With generous funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), we have recently launched a pilot service through which we are offering our telephone counselling service, in Arabic, facilitated by an interpreter service, for a trial period of six months (May – October 2020). We are thrilled to be offering this new service that allows Kids Help Phone to become more culturally and linguistically inclusive in our service delivery and innovation.
This service is available to all Arabic-speaking youth in Canada (regardless of legal status). They can call 1-800-668-6868 and select 3 for services in Arabic. This includes Syrian refugees, newcomers and other kids, teens and young adults across Canada who prefer to receive support in Arabic.
Kids Help Phone addresses the mental health of immigrants and refugees by ensuring that our professional counsellors are well-trained in aspects of cultural humility and multicultural counselling.
We recognize that refugees and newcomers to Canada may experience unique challenges and struggles. Over the past year, we have conducted comprehensive research, collected feedback from Arabic-speaking youth populations and talked with multiple stakeholders working in the newcomer space to effectively plan and implement a service that is sensitive to the needs of immigrants and refugees with a lens on the Arabic-speaking community.
Through this service, we’re empowering Arabic-speaking youth in Canada to reach out for support. We’re offering them a safe, trusted, non-judgmental space to talk and receive e-mental health support from a professional in a language they’re more comfortable speaking.
Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7, national mental health support service. For the last 31 years, we have been there for youth in English and French and now, we are looking to you to help us reduce the stigma attached to help-seeking behaviour in newcomer communities. If you are aware of or work closely with Arabic-Speaking young people who might benefit from availing our new service, we encourage you to share information about our service. Our promotional materials can be downloaded through our webpage: Supporting Arabic-Speaking Youth at kidshelpphone.ca.