09 Oct 2020

World Mental Health Day: Funding a Journey of Hope for newcomer youth

An innovative project focused on the mental health and well-being of newcomer youth in St. John’s will move to its next phase, thanks to additional funding from RBC Foundation.

2Gether Youth Mental Health, developed by the Association for New Canadians, addresses the distinct needs of immigrant youth, particularly those who arrived in Canada as refugees. Guided by an advisory committee of newcomer youth and parents, and operating under a “for youth, by youth” principle, 2Gether enhances awareness of mental health concepts and creates peer champions in the community.

“I can’t say enough about the youth and parents of the advisory group,” said Director of Settlement Services Suzy Haghighi at the announcement at the ANC’s ESL Training Centre. “Their energy, openness, and creativity made it possible for participants to not only fulfil the projects original goals but also to create a podcast and a series of mental health tips for youth. We are also incredibly thankful to RBC Foundation for seeing the value in this program and providing funding to help us take it to a new level.”

The project launched earlier this year with equal co-funding from RBC Foundation and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. RBC Foundation committed an additional $70,000 to develop youth programming that uses visual art to tell stories which the Advisory Group members have called My Journey of Hope. This brings RBC Foundation’s total support to $120,000.

“We are so excited about this initiative, which is just one of many happening at the ANC,” said Colin Krulicki, Regional Vice President, Newfoundland & Labrador, RBC Royal Bank. “What we are talking about today is a commitment to working together to bring about real change. We can’t wait to see the significant difference this program will make now and in the years to come, because when youth succeed, we all succeed.”

After today’s event, the 2Gether Youth project advisory board moves on to their volunteer work as community mental wellness ambassadors, leading the art project that will depict the journey to well-being.

“The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the strengths and talents that newcomers bring to this country are fully realized. This exceptional settlement project, funded in part through IRCC, focuses on the mental health and well-being of newcomer youth in St. John’s, supporting their integration journeys in these challenging times,” said the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “Programs like this help young people and their families as they adjust to their new home and become active and engaged members of their communities.”