New Vancouver Foundation PAR Convene Grant Based at GRSJ

The GRSJ Institute is host to a $20,000 PAR (Participatory Action Research) Convene Grant from the Vancouver Foundation for the project, “Immigrant Mental Health Through Arts-Based Storytelling: Assessing Needs and Aspirations Towards Community Led Wellness Program for Filipino-Canadians” led by Director Leonora Angeles in partnership with five community organizations in Metro Vancouver. Immigrant settlement workers and UBC, SFU, UVic and Douglas College alumni and students complete the team of research facilitators.

Mental health is important at every stage of life and is essential to overall well-being. This is especially important to address among immigrants integrating into the Canadian context. Increased knowledge and access to appropriate tools, services, and systems can positively impact immigrant mental health, leading to resilient communities. This year-long community-based PAR project seeks to understand conceptualizations of mental health within Vancouver’s Filipinx community, including cultural ways in which they currently or aspire to care for their mental health. It leverages on our professional backgrounds and regional networks to access our community members and deploy our capacities needed in this action research.

Filipinos are one of the leading immigrant groups to Canada, comprising a significant segment of the Canadian workforce as front-line service workers in healthcare, hospitality, food & manufacturing. According to Statistics Canada, Filipinos were most likely to report severe forms of anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic and yet, are among the least likely immigrant groups to access mental health services. Knowing the barriers to & facilitators in addressing the mental health needs of Filipinos in Canada, particularly in Metro Vancouver, is the challenge & change we want to work on. Through the Convene Phase, UBC and Community partners want to identify:

(1) social determinants of health factors affecting our community’s mental health and well-being

(2) potential barriers to community-led discussions about wellness

(3) available community support and culturally relevant ways of finding healing and recovery

(4) how to explore their feasible replication and upscaling through PAR.