Originally published: September 20, 2017
UBC researchers have determined that efforts to make immigrants feel welcome in small, rural towns often miss the mark—despite the good intentions.
Associate professor Susana Caxaj, along with undergraduate student Navjot Gill, recently published research examining the well-being of rural immigrants and whether they feel connected to their adopted communities. Caxaj says a sense of belonging, or a lack of one, can impact the mental health and well-being among immigrant residents—the same residents who may not use available mental health services.
According to the last Canadian census, immigrants and refugees make up 20 per cent of Canada's population. Caxaj, who teaches in UBC Okanagan's School of Nursing, says while many immigrants move to urban communities, these populations in small towns are at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing mental health services.