Total projects funded
New projects in 2020
Funds disbursed (CAD)
Wellbeing projects explore factors contributing to refugee child and youth mental health and resilience: family, schools, neighbourhoods, and community service providers. Refugee children and youth experience a number of potentially traumatic events, including family separation; violence or war; the loss of home, culture, and friends; and the challenges of resettling in a new country. In 2020, researchers in this cluster started two new projects: one explores socio-ecological factors that intersect with refugee youth migration, culture, religion, and gender to impact resilience; the other aims to develop a contextually and culturally sensitive model of refugee youth resilience that will inform the design and delivery of interventions.
What supports wellbeing for refugees?
School and community resources
Martin Guhn and colleagues (2019) found that a supportive school climate, support from adults at school and at home, and peer belonging related to social-emotional adjustment in first and second generation refugee children in BC.
What initiatives promote refugees’ wellbeing?
Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre in Waterloo, Ontario
Dillon Browne and colleagues (2020) drew lessons from the model of Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre, a primary care clinic for refugees.
They highlight the importance of comprehensive “wrap around” care that includes physical and mental healthcare, and offers supports like social assistance, legal counseling, information, and settlement services.
Sanctuary’s model also relies on partnerships and collaborations between multiple stakeholders.
Safe Spaces Workshop in Toronto, Ontario
Susan Brigham and colleagues at the Syrian Canadian Foundation (2020) created the Safe Spaces workshop to give refugee youth and their mothers a space to explore integration, inter-family relationships, and trauma while learning new coping skills. They highlighted the importance of the mother-child relationship for refugee youth aged 12 to 20.
Camp Cosmos in Montréal, Quebec
Nicole Ives and colleagues (2019) studied Camp Cosmos, a recreational summer camp in Montreal, and found that refugee children’s self-esteem and confidence increased through the supportive camp environment. The camp also helped them learn new skills and make lasting friendships.
Young refugees are resilient.
While refugee children and youth are exposed to significant trauma and challenges that threaten their mental health and wellbeing, they also show resilience in their ability to adapt and thrive in Canada.