“Finding a Space for Me Outside the Stereotypes”: Community Engagement in Policy and Research to Foster Canadian Racialised Immigrant Women’s Mental Health and Well-Being
- 355 Downloads
Racialised immigrant women face many challenges with resettlement with potential impacts on their mental health and well-being. Recent community-based research (CBR) and associated knowledge translation/exchange (KTE) activities with racialised immigrant women in Toronto, Canada, suggest that activism can promote their mental health and well-being. In this paper, the researchers describe community engagement processes in the CBR that included a stakeholder Think Tank with communities, researchers and service providers in settlement and mental health sectors to create an action plan based on the research. Using a feminist post-colonial lens to analyse the Think Tank data yielded research, policy and program strategies aligned with principles such as building on individuals’ and communities’ strengths and foregrounding gender and racialisation in strategies that can enhance racialised immigrant women’s capacities to take action and overcome barriers. Research, policy and program implications for comprehensive strategies that support health equity, thereby promoting their mental health and well-being, are considered.
KeywordsImmigrant women Community-based research Activism Policy Program Mental health promotion Gender Racialisation
We appreciate the support of Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre and the contributions of Racquel Bremmer and Wairumu Njoroge and the many community members and other stakeholders who contributed to this action plan. We also thank Muna Aden, Maryam Khan, Ana Mateus, Shaista Durrani, Nyla Khan and Sharmin Atker for their contributions to the Knowledge Translation event. We thank the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Gender and Health for their funding of this event and associated knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) activities.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Access Alliance Community Health Center (2012). Community based research (CBR) tool kit. Retrieved from: (pp. 166–172) http://accessalliance.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CBR_Toolkit_Jan2012.pdf
- Canadian Institute for Advancement of Women (CRAIW) (2002). Women’s experience of racism: how race and gender interact. F (pp. 166–172)act sheet. http://www.criaw-icref.ca/sites/criaw/files/WomensExperienceofracism.pdf
- Centre for Health Promotion. (1997). Proceedings from the international workshop on mental health promotion. Canada: University of Toronto. CanadaGoogle Scholar
- Collins, P. H. (2000). Black feminist thought: knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Guruge, S., Collins, E., & Bender, A. (2010). Working with immigrant women: strategies for mental health professionals. Metropolis. Retrieved from http://www.metropolis.net/pdfs/immi_health/Immigrant%20Mental%20Health%20-%20pgs114-124.pdf
- Hajdukowski-Ahmed, M., Khanlou, N., & Moussa, H. (1999). Rethinking practices: creating spaces for agency. In M. Hajdukowski-Ahmed, N. Khanlou, & H. Moussa (Eds.), Not born a refugee woman: contesting identities, rethinking practices (pp. 163–165). NY: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
- Hankivsky, O., Reid, C., Cormier, R., Varcoe, C., Clark, N., Benoit, C., & Brotman, S. (2010). Exploring the promises of intersectionality for advancing women’s health research. International Journal for Equity in Health, 9, 5 http://www.equityhealthj.com/content/9/1/5.
- hooks, B. (2000). Feminist theory: from margin to center (2nd ed.). Cambridge: South End Press.Google Scholar
- Hyman, I. (2009). Policy brief: Racism as a determinant of health. Ottawa, Canada: Public Health Agency of Canada and Metropolis Canada.Google Scholar
- Johnson, J.L., Greaves, L., & Repta, R. (2009). Better science with sex and gender: facilitating the use of a sex and gender-based analysis in health research. International Journal of Equity in Health, 8(14) doi: 10.1186/1475-9276-8-14.
- Joubert, N. & Raeburn, J. (1998). Mental health promotion: People, power and passion. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 1(1), 15–22.Google Scholar
- Khanlou, N., & Guruge, S. (2008). Refugee youth, gender, and identity: on the margins of mental health promotion. In M. Hajdukowski-Ahmed, N. Khanlou, & H. Moussa (Eds.), Not born a refugee woman: contesting identities, rethinking practices (pp. 173–179). NY: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
- Khanlou, N., & Pilkington, B. (Eds.). (2015). Women’s mental health: resistance and resilience in community and society. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Loughry, M. (2008). The representation of refugee women in our research and practice. In M. Hajdukowski-Ahmed, N. Khanlou, & H. Moussa (Eds.), Not born a refugee woman: contesting identities, rethinking practices (pp. 166–172). NY: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
- MacDonnell, J. A., Dastjerdi, M., Bokore, N., & Khanlou, N. (2012). Becoming resilient: promoting the mental health and wellbeing of immigrant women in a Canadian context. Nursing Research and Practice, Article ID 576586. Special Issue on Migration and Health. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/nrp/2012/576586/
- MacDonnell, J.A., Dastjerdi, M., Bokore, N., Tharao, W., & Khanlou, N. (2013) Exploring how immigrant women conceptualize activism: implications for mental health promotion. Final Report. CERIS – The Ontario Metropolis Centre. http://www.ceris.metropolis.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/MacDonnell-FINAL-CERIS-report.pdf
- MacDonnell, J.A., Dastjerdi, M., Bokore, N., Tharao, W., & Khanlou, N. (2015). “Finding the space for me outside of the stereotypes”: creating an action plan to promote the wellbeing of racialized immigrant women through activism: research, policy and program implications. https://yorkspace.library.yorku.ca/xmlui/handle/10315/32946
- Massaquoi, N. (2004). An African child becomes a black Canadian feminist: oscillating identities in the black diaspora. Canadian Womens Studies, 23(2), 140.Google Scholar
- Massaquoi, N., & Wane, N. (2007). Theorizing empowerment: Canadian perspectives on black feminist thought. Toronto: Innana Publications.Google Scholar
- McGibbon, E. A., & Etowa, J. B. (2009). Anti-racist health care practice. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.Google Scholar
- McMurray, E. (2007). Community health and wellness: a socio-ecological approach (3rd ed.). NY: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Mental Health Commission of Canada. (2012). Changing directions, changing lives: the mental health strategy for Canada. Ottawa: Author.Google Scholar
- Mental Health Commission of Canada. (2016). The case for diversity: building the case to improve mental health services for immigrant, refugee, ethno-cultural and racialized populations. Ottawa: Author.Google Scholar
- Minkler, M., & Wallerstein, N. (Eds.). (2008). Community-based participatory research for health: from process to outcomes (2nd ed.). San Francisco: John Wiley.Google Scholar
- Ochocka, J., Nelson, G., Janzen, R., & Trainor, J. (2006). A longitudinal study of mental health consumer/survivor initiatives: Part 3- A qualitative study of impacts of participation on new members. Journal of Community Psychology, 34(3), 273–283Google Scholar
- Open Minds, Healthy Minds: Ontario’s comprehensive mental health and addictions strategy. (2011). Toronto, ON: Ontario Ministry of Health of Health and Long-Term Care. http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/ministry_reports/mental_health2011/mental health.aspx
- Racine, L. (2014). The enduring challenge of cultural safety in nursing. CJNR, 46(2), 6–9.Google Scholar
- Stol, J., Khanlou, K., Hnuey, H., Tran, V., Omer, S., Yip, A., Farah, I., Watanabe, D., Sundar, P., McBreadrty, N., & Carter, C. (2015). Taking action on health equity and diversity: responding to the mental health needs of children, youth and families new to Canada. Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health. Retrieved from http://www.excellenceforchildandyouth.ca/sites/default/files/policy_newcomer_cymh.pdf
- Thompson, M. A., Chaze, F., George, U., & Guruge, S. (2015). Improving immigrant populations’ access to mental health services in Canada: a review of barriers and recommendations. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 17(6). doi: 10.1007/s10903-015-0175-3.
- Wise, M., & Nutbeam, D. (2007). Enabling health systems transformation: what progress has been made in re-orienting health services? Promotion & Education, 14(Supplement 2), 23–27. doi: 10.1177/10253823070140020801x.
- World Health Organization (WHO), Health and Welfare Canada & The Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA). (1986). Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 77(6), 425Google Scholar
- World Health Organization. (2005). Promoting mental health: concepts-emerging evidence-practice. A report of the World Health Organization, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in collaboration with University of Melbourne. Geneva: Author.Google Scholar