The Jeanne Sauvé Foundation is pleased to invite you to attend a panel on Supporting Mental and Psycho-Social Health Needs of Refugees: Bridging Theory and Practice, on Wednesday, May 25, from 5:30-7:45 pm, at Sauvé House.

Join us for this unique Jeanne Sauvé Forum event – part of the Building Inclusive Communities for Refugees: A Public Leadership Challenge series, which explores the Sauvé Fellows’ chosen theme of refugee integration in Canada – with Dr. Laurence Kirmayer, Dr. Myriam Denov, and several more distinguished guests.

The world is currently facing the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. Mass displacement – caused by long-running civil wars, ethnic cleansing, socioeconomic inequality and climate change, among other reasons – continues to affect large numbers of people worldwide. Since 2015, the eyes of the world are on Syria, as unprecedented numbers of refugees have fled the conflict and sought asylum across the Mediterranean and beyond.

In the Canadian context, much has been made of the response the federal government, which has provided in financial sponsorships and material goods to refugees. However, while tangible items are important, the hidden scars caused by psychosocial and mental health problems need to be addressed as well. Refugees who have escaped devastating conflicts and left their homes behind often find that amongst all their competing needs, less visible needs often go neglected.

When mental health challenges such as post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety go unchecked, refugees are often unable to build healthy lives in their new countries. This pattern creates a ripple effect in the communities in which refugees find themselves. Creating a support network for these psychosocial and mental health needs must be a top priority for clinical practitioners, service providers, and government officials.

Our esteemed panelists – Sauvé Fellow Maya Fennig, James McGill Professor and Director of the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University, Laurence Kirmayer, Professor & Canada Research Chair Myriam Denov, International Community Action Network (ICAN) Executive Director Amal Elsana Alhajooj, ICAN Fellow Adnan Mahameed, as well as Alusine Bah, an advocate for child soldiers – will provide perspectives from academia, psychiatry, social work, and their personal lives to shed light on the community mental health sector and the needs of refugee populations. They will do so from international perspectives, having worked in and come from several different countries with unique mental health contexts and challenges for refugees. This panel will also highlight the role of culture and religion in shaping illness experience, resiliency, coping mechanisms and interventionism.

Please note that registration for this event is mandatory, as seating is limited. To register for this free event, click here.

Photograph by Hagai Hirschfeld, The Refugee Voice (2011). 

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