TORONTO, August 29, 2019 –The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has been given a $1.02-million contribution from Health Canada to develop a culturally adapted form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Canadians of South Asian origin.
Canada is home to 1.6 million people of South Asian origin, the largest racialized group in the country. Previous research has shown higher rates of anxiety and mood disorders for this population compared to immigrants from other parts of the world, primarily due to cultural and socio-economic factors. People of South Asian origin also have the highest perceived barriers to mental health treatment, and are 85 per cent less likely to seek treatment for mental illness than those who identify as white.
This is the first major project to develop and test culturally adapted CBT for South Asians in North America and Europe.
“The evidence shows that CBT is as good as medications to treat depression and anxiety, as well as to prevent relapse,” said grant recipient CAMH psychiatrist Dr. Farooq Naeem. “But we also have a lot of data that shows that CBT does not work as well with people from non-western cultural backgrounds. When we adapt it for other cultural contexts – as we’ve done for other racialized communities - it becomes far more effective.”
“CAMH’s project is a welcomed approach in improving the mental health interventions for Canadians of South Asian origin,” said the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health. “The investment announced today is a further step in the Government helping Canadians access mental health supports and resources that meet their specific needs and help them lead healthier lives.”
The culturally adapted CBT initiative for Canadians of South Asian heritage will include:
- The creation of guidelines informed by consultations with patients, caregivers, mental health professionals and community leaders.
- Pilot Feasibility Testing of culturally-adapted CBT to be conducted in Vancouver, Ottawa and the Greater Toronto Area in order to assess its acceptability and effectiveness.
- Training for 20-30 therapists on the use of the new guidelines.
The goal is to produce a culturally adapted CBT manual as well as a training package for therapists working with people of South Asian origin with depression or anxiety. Longer term, the team hopes they can serve as a model for other types of culturally adapted CBT programs across Canada for other racialized groups.
“CAMH has had a great experience in adapting CBT for people of African and Caribbean origin,” said principal co-investigator Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Director of Health Equity at CAMH and CEO of the Wellesley Institute. “When culturally adapted CBT was used at Women’s Health In Women’s Hands Community Health Centre it significantly improved equity in care and decreased the number of their patients coming to the CAMH Emergency Department in crisis. We hope to have the same impact for the South Asian population.”
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is co-leading the project with CAMH. Other community partners across Canada that are assisting with implementation include:
- Gary Thandi from Moving Forward Family Services(Vancouver)
- Bakdev Mutta from Punjabi Community Health Services (Greater Toronto Area)
- Azaad Kassam from Ottawa Newcomer Health Centre hosted by Somerset West Community Health Centre (Ottawa)
For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Sean O'Malley, Media Relations, CAMH, 416-595-6015 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested in Participating? South Asian community members living in Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa can email us at email@example.com for more info.
ABOUT THE CENTRE FOR ADDICTION AND MENTAL HEALTH
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit camh.ca or follow @CAMHnews on Twitter.