Trauma resources ready for North Okanagan refugees

Family Resource Centre working with UBCO social work grad to reach out to local refugees

UBCO Master of Social Work Graduate Alix Longland is reaching out to the local refugee community alongside the Family Resource Centre. (Contributed)

Refugees fleeing trauma and gender-based violence aren’t accessing the mental health resources available to them.

The Family Resource Centre (FRC) wants to ensure that recent refugees access the assistance, so they’ve brought on recent UBCO Master of Social Work Graduate Alix Longland to help research how best to do that.

Longland will be meeting with the local refugee community, as well as working with the Vernon and District Immigrant and Community Services Society (VDICSS), to determine not just what the community needs, but the culturally sensitive way to talk about mental health and trauma with people from different cultures. She will also be looking at best practices across Canada for providing trauma informed care to refugee populations.

“We have excellent counselors providing trauma care, but currently we’re not seeing the refugee community accessing those services,” FRC executive director Jim Swingle said. “I’m very excited to see what Ms. Longland will discover a way to better reach this population. I’m also thrilled with the support we’ve gotten from VDICSS and the Archway Society in moving forward with this project. It is a need whose time has come.”

The centre has been helping Vernon individuals and families move forward and lead healthy lives since 1993. It provides counselling and support group services to nearly 1,300 clients every year. Those clients are children, teenagers, adults, couples, parents, and families who turn to the centre for support to overcome a range of life challenges, and the diversity of offerings directly responds to the ever-changing needs of those served.

READ MORE: Vernon chosen for immigration pilot project

READ MORE: Amnesty International Okanagan event to dispel myths, advocate for refugees


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jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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