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Lethbridge Immigrant Services Deals with Mental Health Issues among Immigrants

May 30, 2019

Immigrant Services Sector Left Reeling Following Suicide of Young Syrian Girl in Calgary

Sarah Aimes, Program Director of Lethbridge Immigrant Services laments that teen years can be a confusing and challenging time for many youth, but when you add the complications of immigrating to a new country, cultural differences, and language barriers, it adds even more frustration to the mix.  

According to Lethbridge Family Services - Immigrant Services mental health issues like depression and anxiety are common among new immigrant children.  Just recently a Syrian youth in Calgary took her own life, devastating the immigrant community in Alberta.  

"We all bare that pain," says Aimes, "because it could have happened here, it could have happened anywhere."

She reflects that this incident has made LFS even more zealous about making people understand how damaging bullying can be and how damaging racism and discrimination is.

Immigrant Services has a team in place that works specifically with youth to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

"We in Lethbridge are able to provide a lot of support service to our children in school," she says. "We have a program here called the SWIS program. Settlement Workers in Schools."

She explains this group is able to check in on those who they have identified as the most vulnerable children needing more support and service.

May is Mental Health Awareness month and according to Canadian Mental Health's website 24% of deaths in people aged 15-24 are caused by suicide.  The stats of new immigrants are unclear at this time.



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