The mental health needs of immigrants, who make up nearly 14% of Philadelphia’s population, are often centered on immigration, a stressful and sometimes traumatic ordeal. Yet many immigrants come from cultures where stigma around mental health makes them reluctant to talk about the emotional difficulties they face.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only aggravated an already difficult situation as immigrants seek out information about the coronavirus in their languages, cope with increased conflict between family members, and look for behavioral health resources that address their needs in a culturally sensitive way. That’s why three Philadelphia nonprofits have developed unique approaches to helping the city’s immigrant communities at a time of heightened uncertainty.
The Chinese Immigrant Family Wellness Program was launched in March right as the pandemic hit. The initiative was originally designed around in-person workshops aimed at the Chinese population’s understanding of wellness.
Launched in September 2019, Tabadul incorporates art into the lives of Northeast High School students who are immigrants and refugees. Through art, the students were given an outlet to express their feelings about immigration and their lives.
The Intercultural Wellness Program was founded last February to give immigrants the skills to promote wellness in their communities. Program sessions, which focused on specific wellness topics, strategies, and coping mechanisms, were led by guest lecturers including mental-health providers.
Read more at ThePhiladelphiaInquirer.com.