Can crisis counselling help me with trauma?

Crisis counselling provides you with emotional and psychological support to ensure that you remain safe during a crisis. It can help you figure out how to cope with your mental health in different situations like trauma and deal with various stressors that can arise when moving to a new country.

Being a newcomer to Canada especially can present many challenges such as social isolation, culture shock, adjusting to a new culture and life, looking for employment/education, etc. The process of immigration is overwhelming in and of itself. All of this can take a toll on your mental health, and it may help to talk through these emotions with someone neutral and find ways to cope. 

Crisis counselling pairs you with a counsellor who can offer culturally competent support. This means that your counsellor will have training and experience in dealing with different cultures and can understand, appreciate, and interact with people from different cultures. They are also trauma informed, in particular in the area of childhood traumas, which allows the counsellor to identify triggers from people’s pasts. Counsellors can create a safe space where you can feel most at ease to express your concerns and needs so that you don’t feel alone and can feel understood and valued instead. 

Often, your mental health can start to impact your physical health by finding ways to address what you’re experiencing you can take care of it before your condition worsens. 

Types of Crisis Counselling 

You can participate in crisis counselling as an individual, group or family for free. Crisis counsellors will assess your needs and refer you to appropriate resources accordingly. They can also help with safety planning if you are trying to get away from a dangerous situation or person by arranging for shelter and providing follow-up support. 

Crisis counselling offers help with a wide range of mental health issues, such as:

  • anxiety
  • stress management
  • social isolation 
  • trauma 
  • substance abuse 
  • grief 
  • self-care 

You can also access mental health education workshops that are catered to fit your needs. Through the sessions and workshops, you will learn different tools you can use in your day-to-day life to deal with complex issues. Once a counsellor understands what you are going through, they will find ways to help you cope with it. 

You can access services in different languages as well. Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services offer the following multilingual crisis counselling:

Who is eligible to participate? 

Although this type of counselling is mainly reserved for permanent residents who are not Canadian citizens, there are some exceptions. Talk to your counsellor to inquire about their intake requirements.

 To be eligible for crisis counselling you must be: 

  • Permanent residents of Canada who have not become citizens
  • Protected persons as defined in section 95 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)
  • Individuals who have been selected to become permanent residents and have been informed by letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
  • Convention Refugees
  • Temporary foreign workers who hold or receive approval of a work permit under section 112 or receive initial approval for permanent residence under section 113 of the immigration and  refugee protection regulations
If you came to Canada as a refugee you might also want to read what other mental health services are available to you.  

My Culture Sees Mental Health as a Taboo

You are not alone if you are from a cultural background that discredits mental health care. Cultural stigmas and religious ideologies may believe asking for help is unnecessary. Many cultures don’t talk about mental health and sometimes may not even take it seriously. Some cultures also do not have the language for specific mental health issues or topics, so it is hard to discuss certain health issues. In Canada, we recognize mental health wellbeing and see counselling as a way to normalize mental health by teaching you about healthier patterns through conversation. 

Talking to a counsellor that is culturally sensitive, trauma-informed, and unbiased can help create a safe space for individuals from different walks of life by treating counselling like a normal conversation. This can help guide you in the right direction to express how you feel and help you find the appropriate resources. 

It’s very important for you as a newcomer to find social and emotional supports that will help you adapt to life in a new country. The need to fit in, learn and make connections is far more important than the stigmas we carry from back home. Counselling is about human-to-human connection, empathy, validation, understanding, and support. Contact your local settlement agency today for more information on how you can access crisis counselling services near you. 

Presented by: Polycultural Crisis Counselling

Contact: Zaineb Nizami, Crisis Counsellor at. 416-233-0055 ext. 1237 for more information.

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Last updated: January 5, 2023 4006522