For Immediate Release
Many Refugee Children Suffer Trauma - Hamilton’s OASIS Program is here to help
Children’s Mental Health Week: May 1-7, 2017
Last year, the Hamilton community received more than 1400 refugees from war-torn Syria. They came seeking peace, safety and security, and the hope of a better life for themselves and their children. About two thirds of these refugees are children under the age of 18.
Finding their way to physical safety and security in Canada is only the first step towards a life of peace and hope. Physical wounds may heal quickly; but emotional and psychological wounds take longer to surface and to heal. Often this healing requires specialized intervention.
As the only agency in Hamilton providing highly specialized refugee trauma treatment for children and youth, Thrive Child and Youth Trauma Services offers OASIS (the Outreach, Assessment and Specialized Intervention Services program).
The OASIS program is funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, The City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Community Foundation and generous donors.
Since last fall, OASIS has been overwhelmed by the demand for treatment services. At the end of March, our waitlist of Syrian children and youth in need of some kind of treatment, stood at 22. Our financial and clinical capacity is stretched to the limit. Children are waiting as long as 6 months or more to receive treatment.
Children can have an especially difficult time because they may have less ability to cope with their feelings. They may avoid going to school and have difficulty learning or making friends. They may experience anxiety, headaches, sleep interruption and nightmares, bedwetting, aggressive outbursts, depression or other symptoms.
Hamilton schools and sponsorship groups are often the first to identify a problem. They look to OASIS for the specialized treatment these children need.
"Classroom teachers and principals tell me what a difference Thrive's OASIS program makes for refugee children who are struggling with the effects of trauma. HWDSB educators highly value the specialized expertise of OASIS clinicians to provide support to these students to succeed fully in school."
- Christine Shaw ESL/ELD K-12 Program Consultant Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
“CMHA Mental Health Week started in 1951 to raise awareness for mental health inCanada. Held during the first full week in May, CMHA Mental Health Week is now a popular awareness week. … This year, as part of our Sick of Waiting: Get Loud for Mental Health campaign, we are paying special attention to long waits – the long wait to see a mental health professional, and the long wait for improvements to the mental health system of Canada.” – Canadian Mental Health Association
To learn more about Thrive’s OASIS program, or to arrange an interview, please call the number below.
Contact: Katie Gorrie 905-523-1020 ext. 210
Last night Hamilton hosted a vigil, as many other cities across Canada did, for the victims of the Quebec Mosque shooting. Hundreds of Hamiltonians showed up to show their solidarity with the victims of the attack and with the Muslim community. Members of our team at Thrive were there to show their support and let the community know that we are here to help those who have been traumatized by such events, or those who are scared in these uncertain times.
(Gathering at the Hamilton Vigil; Photo Credit: Kim Bird)
Members of our Thrive team, Janice Floyd Client Services Coordinator and Kim Bird OASIS Program Coordinator, were there to represent Thrive's solidarity with the newcomer community. Here is Janice's moving account:
“I felt incredibly proud of the City of Hamilton as I stood alongside hundreds of people last night. People in this community came together, at literally a moment’s notice, to support and show love, care and respect for each other. The large turnout for the vigil was truly amazing, and I left the event knowing this community is overflowing with good people prepared to walk the walk and not just talk the talk when it comes to issues like racism, islamophobia, and so on."
Thrive continues its commitment to supporting children and youth who have experienced trauma and through its OASIS refugee trauma treatment program we are here for newcomer children traumatized by dislocation, violence, war and persecution.
THRIVE Child and Youth Trauma Services releases "Partners in Prevention" online parent/caregiver resource
January 25, 2017
The Partners in Prevention Resource Tool is a site developed by Thrive Child and Youth Trauma Services as a resource for parents and caregivers in our community.
Thrive Child and Youth Trauma Services had the pleasure of hosting The Partners in Prevention Symposium; a symposium for parents and caregivers about keeping young people safe from sexual harm, in April 2016. Both parents and professionals in the field came together to learn more about how we can help keep young people in our community safe from sexual harm.
The forty participants heard Dr. Janet Rosenzweig, author of “The Sex-Wise Parent” present on practical advice to help parents promote their families’ sexual health and safety. Her “Rosenzweig’s Rules” provided easy to understand parent guidelines for nurturing healthy sexuality in their families. The participants then had the opportunity to participate in two break-out sessions led by local experts from THRIVE, the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board, the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton and the Hamilton Police Services. Participants had the opportunity to direct questions to local experts and to learn about the many resources available to them in the Hamilton community.
But we did not want to limit the information presented only to those who attended the symposium. With the help of the Ministry of Education, we are able to make this information accessible to all parents and caregivers of children and youth in our community and beyond.
This online parent tool features resources on cyber safety, resilience, concerning sexualized behaviour and how to start conversing with your child or youth about sexuality and safety.
The resources on this website are compiled by trained professionals in the field and feature presentations by experts in the fields of child safety and child welfare.
To visit the site, go to www.parenttool.thrivechildandyouth.ca.
For more information, contact: Katie Gorrie 905-523-1020 ext. 210
UPDATE: CBC Hamilton feature about THRIVE's OASIS Program focuses on mental health for arriving refugees - click here.
#WELCOME REFUGEES INFORMATION FAIR: Hamilton City Hall, Tuesday, March 1, 7 - 9 pm. - click here.
As Canadian communities prepare for the arrival of Syrian refugees, our OASIS Program team is busy making sure we are ready to assist as many young people as possible when they arrive in Hamilton with symptoms of trauma. The OASIS Program is Hamilton's specialized treatment program for child and youth trauma among refugees and immigrants. Requests for this service are made by settlement services, schools, family doctors, and others who may identify a need for assessment and mental health supports within a newcomer family. We have been working with community partners to help them better understand and identify the signs of trauma, but many newcomer families will need time to address immediate needs (shelter, primary health, school registration) as a first priority. We have increased program capacity to help those newcomers who do need this support, and will continue to work with our partners in settlement, health, education, children's services, and government to enhance service levels appropriately. One-time funds from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services will help boost capacity until March 31, and a significant investment from the Hamilton Community Foundation's ABACUS granting program will support in-school classes to help newcomer students prepare for an unfamiliar learning environment. We welcome community assistance as we ready for what could be a substantial influx of children and youth needing our help throughout 2016 and beyond. Private sponsors wanting to connect newcomers to our OASIS Program may do so by calling Contact Hamilton at 905-570-8888. More information about the OASIS Program can be found on this web site (Programs and Services tab at top) or by scrolling down on this page to OASIS Program Brochure (on right).
Ontario will likely be a major point of entry for incoming refugees over the next few months and we need to ensure the health system is ready, willing and able to assist. Refugees typically face greater settlement and integration challenges than other newcomers. Many refugees have experienced prolonged periods in refugee camps, trauma, violence, and limited access to health care and education.
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
Those wanting more in-depth information about the health needs of refugees might want to visit www.kidsnewtocanada.ca (Canadian Paediatric Society).
(Photo by Mary-Jo Land, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2009)