JUST RELEASED: New multi-year research calls for increased long-term mental health support for refugees and integration programs that develop their social networks. The research report, Sustaining Welcome, was produced by ISSofBC in partnership with York University’s Syrian Refugee Integration and Long-term Health Outcomes (SyRIA.th) project3, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Although the research participants were exclusively resettled Syrian refugees, the report’s findings have key lessons for ongoing and future refugee integration efforts in BC and Canada.
The report, Sustaining the Welcome, brings together a unique combination of practitioners, academics, and front-line workers in a multi-year interview-based study of Syrian refugees living in BC. As a result, the report presents previously under-assessed changes to the well-being of Syrian refugees in the years following their initial resettlement in Canada.
The key findings identify persistent gendered barriers for women refugees in terms of economic, social, physical, and mental well-being across the four years of study but also the successes refugees achieved in this time, from finding work, establishing a social network, and gaining a greater sense of belonging to their city, neighborhood, and Canada.
Ultimately, the report calls for greater trauma-informed services that account for the mental health issues that refugees continue to face far beyond their initial resettlement. It also identifies the need for long-term investments in English language lessons, social network development, and employment opportunities for women to prevent their isolation and enhance their integration.
By the nature of these findings, the Sustaining the Welcome report has important implications for Canada’s refugee resettlement policies and how Canadian society should respond to ongoing and future refugee crises such as those in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Sudan.
You can view the report info-graphic with key findings and recommendations, HERE.
You can access the report and additional information, HERE.
PLEASE NOTE: The BC Refugee Hub will be hosting a webinar in early November with the researchers to take a deeper look at the research and answer any questions you may have. Invitation to register will be sent out in the coming weeks.