Community Mental Health Advisors (CMHA)
The Program facilitates clients and theirfamily members to access and utilize services, provide emotional support and encouragement, promote recovery and resiliency, and build upon current health literacy. The program aims to ensure mental health services correspond to the cultural norms and beliefs of individual clients and effectively reduce symptoms of psychological trauma and enhance psychosocial wellbeing. Services are rendered by community members (preferably from the same culture and language group as the client) with lived experience in successfully managing mental health conditions and challenges associated with the overall refugee resettlement experience. These culturally responsive peer support services identify and strengthen existing natural supports. Peer support activities might include: individual coaching; facilitating social and emotional support groups; organizing activities such as gardening, picnics, yoga, walking groups, parenting support; learning how to ride the bus; accessing resources, self-advocacy and budgeting.
In recognition of the psychosomatic effects of Trauma and the importance of utilizing a holistic approach in treating trauma survivors, TSWSC contracts with a Licensed Massage therapist to work on clients with psychosomatic disorders and PTSD. This is based on the concept that the body is the medium of expression for many trauma survivors. This program aims to introduce ways to treat the body in hands-on, compassionate and caring ways that help individuals in their process of recovery. Clients are referred to this free service on a voluntary basis as long as they meet criteria for the above mentioned diagnosis. Massage therapy serves as a culturally responsive alternative to conventional psychotherapy and helps ease some of the emotional and physical burdens of trauma.
This is an empirically validated, adjunctive treatment for complex trauma informed by both theory on the neurobiology of trauma and the ancient scientific wellness system of yoga. The aim of Trauma-Sensitive Yoga is to provide a safe and supportive environment for trauma survivors and empower them to autonomously choose their movements, breath, and poses.