Surrey program tackles 'huge gaps' in support for Syrian refugee mental health
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

When Syrian refugee Mohamad Alorfi fled to Jordan, he lived under the constant threat of being caught working illegally by police.

"Just because you saw a policeman, you have to run away, because they always raise us on fear," the father of seven explains through an interpreter. 

Which is why the mere sight of a police station in his new home of Surrey left him struggling to breathe. 

That is, until Alorfi learned a deep breathing technique at an innovative new program in Surrey to help Syrian refugees cope with past trauma.

"When I remember the past, I use this method," he said, demonstrating by taking a long, slow inhale. "I do this trick to get over it."  

Alorfi and his family are among about 20 Syrian refugees participating in a five-week group session that deals with settlement issues "through a trauma lens," according to Corina Carroll, the manager of counselling services at Diversecity Community Resources Society. 

The program is funded by the United Way, and is a first step in alleviating what Carroll describes as a "huge gap" in serving Syrian refugees' mental health needs.

Full article

Source: CBC News, By Catherine Rolfsen, June 8-2016.