Starting July 1, the City of Chestermere will partner with the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA) to offer multi-lingual in-person and virtual counselling services to Chestermere residents.
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“In April, the City’s Human Services Advisory Board issued a call for proposals to service providers to deliver counselling services in multiple languages,” says Chestermere Human Services Advisory Board Chair Scot Caithness. “We are very excited to have selected CIWA to partner with us in offering this service to our ethnically, religiously and culturally diverse community.”
This new partnership will help facilitate the delivery of counselling services to Chestermere residents in their first language as part of the Well-Being, Equity, and Resiliency Counselling Services Project.
“CIWA is really pleased to collaborate with the City of Chestermere to offer counselling services. Through this collaboration, we collectively aim to increase accessibility and decrease barriers to community services for immigrant families facing issues such as mental health and family conflict situations,” says Rekha Gadhia, Manager of the Family Services Department for CIWA. “The customized culturally sensitive counselling and settlement support services in first languages will truly empower immigrant families to access the critical supports with confidence and comfort and increase resiliency.”
Currently, counsellors can speak Arabic, Amharic, Bengali, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Punjabi, Pashto, Spanish, Tigrinya and Urdu.
“The need for culturally sensitive counselling services in multiple languages became even more apparent during the pandemic,” says Danielle Fermin, Manager of Community Support Services for the City of Chestermere. “We are seeing some alarming trends stemming from increased stress factors and families spending more time inside the home due to public health restrictions.”
These stress factors include unemployment, increased mental health and emotional wellness concerns, and living in an extended family setting where relatives have joined the household.
The program aims to help families, youth, and seniors develop independence, learn practical parenting skills, strengthen coping skills, become more resistant to crisis, and promote peaceful and harmonious living while preventing family violence.
“We are hoping to soon be able to offer some local community space where counselling can take place in person,” adds Fermin. “For now, residents can receive counselling services virtually or visit CIWA’s Calgary offices.”
To obtain a referral for Counselling Services through the CIWA partnership, Chestermere residents can call the Family and Community Resource Centre at (403) 207-7079 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Community members can also connect with CIWA directly by submitting a referral form to email@example.com or visiting ciwa-online.com/client-services/family-services.html.
The CIWA project partnership has received funding from the City’s Human Services Advisory Board until December 31, 2021. For more information on mental health and counselling services in Chestermere, visit chestermere.ca/mentalhealth.