Mental Health and Wellness

This is a place for you to find suggestions about how you can support yourself and your family to maintain your mental health and well-being during the process of settling in a new country.

This guide does not offer or replace professional advice.

Emergeny Help

Are you or someone you know experiencing mental health crisis?

A mental health crisis is when someone is experiencing difficulties to think and/or control their behaviour and/or is unable to cope with their emotions.

Mental Health Crisis Team

The Mobile Crisis Team is a Provincial Telephone Crisis Line for children, youth or adults who are experiencing a mental health crisis. You will receive immediate attention over the phone. A specialized team might come to you or the person in crisis.

You can call 24/7 from anywhere in Nova Scotia. Interpretation is available.

Mental Health and Addictions Support

Mental health, or emotional well-being is balance and harmony in your emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being. People who have positive mental health are more connected with family, friends, and their community. They feel productive and able to cope better with day-to-day stressors, and they are able to recover their balance after facing problems.

Most immigrants coming to Canada have good mental health. They are capable and very resilient. This means you have the ability to find your own cultural, personal and social strengths and to connect with resources existing in their communities to overcome adversity in challenging times. Individuals and families who settle and integrate well behave, think and deal with frustrating situations in ways that strengthen their capacity to deal with difficulties and build healthy support networks.

Immigration, as in many other periods of change in people’s lives, offers challenges that might affect their well-being. These changes might make us feel frustrated and hopeless:

  • being away from family and friends
  • not speaking English or French
  • seeing, hearing and experiencing different cultures and different ways of doing things

Immigrants may have experienced traumatic events before coming to Canada that could make it harder to deal with these changes. War, forced displacement and long periods spent in refugee camps can shake a person's sense of well-being, security, self-confidence and trust.  As well, on arrival to Canada immigrants may face challenges such as racism and discrimination, financial challenges and inadequate housing. Many families struggle with immigration policies that make it very difficult to reunite with their families living abroad. These situations affect their mental health and well-being. It is a shared responsibility among the government institutions, communities and individuals to create a culturally responsive and inclusive environment to support the well-being of immigrants.

With the right supports, immigrants can overcome these challenges, and be healthy, happy and productive individuals and families. This page offers information and resources to support you and your family to keep your mental health and well-being strong during the settlement process. For many people, it means to acknowledge and overcome the fear of addressing mental health because of all the negatives ideas connected with the concept of mental health. This page also offers you information about mental health that challenges the mental health stigma that prevents people for looking for help or supporting those suffering from mental health problems.

For your convenience, at the end of each section, we have provided a list of new words (called a “glossary”) with links to their definitions. This will help you understand some of the key words better.


Resources for Staying Well and Healthy

Stages of Adapting to Life in Canada

Stages of Adapting to Life in Canada

Many people go through several steps, or stages, in their adaptation process to a new country. Some take longer than others to...
Settlement Stress and Mental Health

Settlement Stress or Cultural Shock: Tips to Keep Healthy

People react differently to the same stressors. Some people are more affected than others. It depends on personality types, family upbringing,...
Airplane-Settlement Stress Header

Settlement Stress and Mental Health Problems

Sometimes settlement stress puts us out of balance, which can create mental health problems. Mental health problems affect people’s emotions, thoughts...
Mental Health and Addictions Support

Support for Mental Health Concerns and Addictions

You have several choices to get help.
Settlement Stress or Cultural Shock-Tips to Keep Healthy

Mental Health Stigma

Many people from different cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and religions have developed negative ideas about mental health problems and illnesses. This is called...
Understanding Addiction Background

Understanding Addiction

An addiction is a habit or behaviour that is very hard to stop and interferes with a person’s life. Addictions...
Mental Health Treatment

Treatments in Canada: Ways to Recover our Mental Health Balance

Most people can address their mental health concerns by being aware of them, learning about them and by introducing changes in their...
Recovering-Holding Hands

Supporting a Friend or Family Member with Mental Health or Addiction Problem

When someone is experiencing mental health problems or illness, family member and friends play an important role in supporting well-being.
Supporting Children Settlement

Supporting Your Children’s Well-Being

Most immigrants leave their country because they want a better future for their children. For this reason it is very...