Archway Community Services
Location: Abbotsford and Mission, BC
- Audience: Settlement, social and health service providers
- Population of Interest: Immigrant and refugee populations
- The Need: Newcomers to Canada have complex needs that can be addressed by one of the many programs available at Archway.
- What's Promising: Wrap-around services help improve mental health
- Key Takeaway: When the average newcomer is supported to settle well in the community with their housing, medical, education and language needs met, their mental health is also supported.
Archway Community Services is one of the largest non-profits in BC with 90+ programs serving thousands in the Fraser Valley. The organization was started in 1969 to provide Christmas gifts for low-income families and has evolved over the years to meet the emerging and changing needs of the community.
From newborn babies to seniors – they help people of all ages. From individuals escaping violence to people with addictions – they help people in crisis. From newcomers in Canada to people with disabilities – they help people feel like they belong. Archway has supported immigrants and refugees from Vietnam, Syria, India and more since the 1970s.
Services for Newcomers
Within the Multicultural and Immigrant Integration department there are twenty-six programs offered to newcomers to Canada. They range from language instruction to employment programs, advocacy for migrant workers to settlement services.
These programs help in supporting the mental health needs of newcomers in many ways. When the average newcomer is supported to settle well in the community with their housing, medical, education and language needs met, their mental health is also supported.
In addition, when the newcomer who has experienced trauma and displacement finds one-to-one support for the many barriers they face; their mental health is supported. And when they can find counselling services in their language, this also supports their mental health.
The Archway Moving Ahead Program (MAP) is one of the programs that directly addresses the mental health needs of newcomers. MAP provides wrap-around support for immigrants or refugees who are facing multiple barriers to successful settlement into Canada. Our support includes ensuring food security, providing transportation to appointments that might otherwise be missed, helping complete government paperwork, walking through the legal system with them, meeting landlords together to find housing and much more.
Through these interactions, clients slowly start to open up about other issues impacting family dynamics and life in Canada. Counselling is offered in their own language, but people often refuse as they are not familiar with the concept. Staff provide a listening ear and encourage clients to develop friendships within their community to find the mental health support they need.
Partnering with Other Programs
Partnering with other programs within Archway and in the community helps to support our clients better. Programs like the Archway Community Connections or Archway Access2English connect our clients with volunteers who help to integrate them into Canadian culture and society. Partnering with the local Primary Access clinic gives our clients health care that understands their unique needs. When clients are supported both socially and physically it impacts their mental health positively.
Archway is a place where immigrants and refugees can find support and assistance for any number of needs they may have within the same organization. Seeking help for mental health issues is never easy and newcomers have to overcome language, financial and cultural barriers. As they build relationships with Archway staff, they may feel more comfortable accessing services specifically for mental health.