Family & Mental Health Services

Providing access to appropriate care engaging individuals and families

individuals received couples, family and individual counselling and accessed psychiatric services in Arabic, English, Italian and Spanish
women received individual and supportive counselling
increase in calls from parents concerned about excessive gaming because of increased isolation
individuals attended the Supporting Families to Understand Excessive Gaming and Gambling Conference in March 2022

A growing number of individuals and families are struggling with mental health challenges. As we know too well, the repercussions of COVID-19 are still being felt and have exacerbated difficult and stressful conditions for many: increased isolation, unemployment and other realities continue to have an impact.

For newcomers, the challenges can be even greater as many are also experiencing language and cultural barriers. Some have also fled violence and political unrest in their homelands and arrive with extreme emotional trauma.

This is why addressing and supporting mental health challenges continues to be a priority at COSTI. In 2021/22, we continued to expand our online virtual counselling model so that individuals and families can receive the culturally sensitive care they need. 

Strong mental health is an important factor in creating a successful life in Canada. From young people to adults and seniors, our counselling covers a wide range of ages – all to help individuals successfully cope with feelings of isolation, depression and other conditions. In some cases, individuals are also experiencing the effects of racism. Feeling antagonized and discriminated against in their new adopted country can also negatively impact an individual’s mental and emotional well-being.

Our Expressive Art Therapy program for Racialized Muslim Women exposed to Islamophobia is one example of how we’re working to address different needs. We know that many Muslim communities in Canada are facing racism – and women who specifically dress in niqabs (face coverings) or hijabs (headscarves) are often visible targets and victims of hateful behaviour. 

Together with the support of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and community partners, COSTI is delivering this program to provide racialized Muslim women with a safe space to share their experiences, build solidarity, and use art therapy as a tool to deal with their emotions. 95% of the women who attended this group expressed they gained self-awareness, learned coping mechanisms, and felt empowered.