As a child of immigrant parents, it can be really challenging to talk to my family about mental health challenges. Growing up in a three-generation Chinese household, with two generations of immigrants, mental health wasn’t discussed. Getting support for personal recovery was something I had to do without their understanding and sometimes knowledge. After my own personal healing, I realized that they too need support and a better understanding of mental health. As immigrants, their experiences and needs are different from mine.
Getting support for your mental health is really important, especially now during a pandemic. The mental health supports that are promoted are typically for English speakers. What if you don’t speak English? In my search for mental health support, I’ve come across multiple languages, community and mental health services within the GTA. Being able to speak to someone in your mother tongue doesn’t just support understanding but also relationality. Having a connection with someone who understands your culture and the stigma associated, allows for deep connection and hope for recovery.
If you know of a family or community member who speaks limited English, perhaps a newcomer, someone who needs translation services or wants to practice their English or speak to someone in their mother tongue in a safe environment this may be the list to use.
These resources are in no particular order. The information was collected in June 2021, please contact the organization or service to ensure the program and language service is still active.
Across Boundaries provides equitable, inclusive and holistic mental health and addiction services for racialized people across the Greater Toronto Area. Across Boundaries currently provides services in many languages, including:
- Caribbean Dialects
- African Languages – Shona, Amharic, Harare, Xhosa, Tsonga, Afrikaans, Swahili, Somali, Twi
- Central Asian Languages – Dari, Pashto, Farsi (Persian)
- South Asian Languages – Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali
- South East Asian Languages – Mandarin
Hong Fook Mental Health Association
Hong Fook, meaning “Health” and “Felicity” in Chinese, has been serving the Asian communities in the Greater Toronto Area since 1982. We strive to address the mental health concerns of the Cambodian, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Korean and Vietnamese communities.
Serving Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. Offers 24-hour, anonymous and confidential distress and emotional support lines for anyone who needs a caring, compassionate and non-judgmental listening ear.
English, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Spanish & Portuguese (Mississauga & Brampton)
Mandarin & Cantonese
South Asian Community Health Services
Offers culturally and linguistically appropriate services for the South Asian community including primary health care, mental health and addiction counselling. We offer our services in Hindi , Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Gujarati, Malayalam, Arabic, French and English.
Community Family Services of Ontario
Formerly Chinese Family Services of Ontario, this agency offers group, individual and family counselling. English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese. Services are free and confidential.
Brampton Multicultural Community Centre
Offers a culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate Mind Your Health program including counselling, peer support groups, mental health workshops and life skills training. This service can be offered in Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu upon request.
Malton Neighborhood Services
MNS supports the creation of connected, safe and strong communities by offering and engaging in activities that recognize and respect the diversity of the neighbourhoods it serves. Services are available in many languages including Somali, Twi, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Arabic, Tagalog, Spanish and Italian. A range of youth services and programs are available. The Black Family Support Program services families living in Brampton and Mississauga and offers counselling, advocacy, information/referrals, drop-in and support for parents.
Resources with Language Services/Interpretation Available
Access to mental health services for children and youth (Peel)
Central access point for free and confidential mental health services for children, youth and families who live in Peel Region. When you call us, we will listen to your concerns and help connect you with the most appropriate mental health program or service for you. Intakes are scheduled by telephone (905-451-4655) or requested online. Interpretation services including sign language interpretation can be provided upon request. Intake conversation is collaborative and involves questions regarding client identity, culture and background so clients may express their needs and preferences. Information/referral to culturally relevant services and agencies also available.
Access Alliance Language Services (AALS)
Has been offering high-quality language access services to health care, social service agencies and the broader public and private sectors in the Greater Toronto Area since 1990.
COSTI Immigrant Services
A community-based multicultural agency providing employment, educational, settlement and social services to all immigrant communities, new Canadians and individuals in need of assistance. Language bureau for translations and other services.
Islamic Social Services and Resources Association
I.S.S.R.A. is a non-profit organization committed to serving individuals, families and communities who are vulnerable, in distress and lack access to other services because of obstacles of culture, language, race, poverty, gender or other barriers.
The Indigenous Network
(905) 712-4726 or @AboriginalPeel on Twitter offers a Friendship Centre, access to a resource coordinator for culturally relevant supports and a healthy living program.
Anishnawbe Health Toronto
416-360-0486 or 416- 920-2605
Offers a mental health treatment model that integrates traditional and western approaches, primary health care and a wide variety of programming across three sites in downtown Toronto. Who can access services at AHT? First Nations, Inuit or Metis Peoples (status or non-status and their families).