All posts in “stress management”

Mennonite New Life Centre – Group Workshops & Programs

Group Name: Mennonite New Life Centre – Group Workshops & Programs

Description: The Mennonite New Life Centre envisions a society in which all people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds participate fully in all aspects of Canadian life. We will model an approach that brings together community engagement and community services, working together with newcomers to reduce insecurity and reach integration, strengthen voices and increase social equality. As a community-based settlement agency, the Mennonite New Life Centre is a place of welcome, friendship and community, where newcomers and neighbours gather to support each other, learn from each other, and take action together for a more just and compassionate society.

Group Workshops & Programs
Throughout the year, the community mental health program offers a range of group programs and workshops, providing participants with opportunities to share stories and mutual support, build resilience and hope, identify strengths and develop community leadership. Group programs include refugee support groups, parenting support groups, a strengths-based empowerment and leadership development group, and an employment and mental health group.

Our workshops support participants to tap into their inner strength, while managing emotions, learning positive communication approaches, and building support networks.

Where: 1774 Queen St. East | Toronto, ON M4L 1G7

When: Please call for more information.

Contact: 416-699-4527 | |

FCJ Refugee Centre – Wellness Program

Group Name: FCJ Refugee Centre – Wellness Program

Description: FCJ Refugee Centre serves refugees and others at risk due to their immigration status, and welcomes anyone asking for advice, counsel and support regarding these issues. We address systemic issues that newly arrived refugee claimants face in Canada including lack of resources, marginalization, and discrimination. Countless people are touched by our services. Some become residents at one of the houses, and use our refugee settlement services, while some only use the Centre’s refugee protection services. For all these people we advocate in any way necessary: assistance with paperwork, translation and interpretation, accompaniment, referral to immigration lawyers connected to our organization, orientation to local social services, skills development, and counselling to support a healthy and positive start to life in Canada. Still others are guided and informed by our popular education programme, which encompasses training, seminars, workshops, and publications.

Primary Health Care Clinic
Dr. Jim Sugiyama is a family physician, who generously donates his valuable time on every other Saturdays to provide primary health care to the most marginalized populations. Every other Saturday he manage to see children, women, families, youths and adults from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Mental Health Clinic
Ms. Salma Zafar coordinates our Mental Health Clinic. The therapeutic counseling is offered in a holistic and client-centered approach to improve the mental health and well-being of the individuals. It is offered in a supportive, non-judgemental, compassionate and caring environment. Individuals are coming for short or long term counseling as a process of healing and recovery.

FCJ Refugee Centre model of care is holistic focusing on improving mental, physical and spiritual health through yoga. Individuals will learn gentle yoga postures as a relaxing techniques. Yoga has enabled the FCJ Refugee service users to take control of their bodies, minds and lives thus improving their overall wellness. The yoga therapist incorporates breathing and meditation techniques to help individuals to de-stress and helps them to cope with the challenges of living in a stressful environment.

Where: 208 Oakwood Avenue | Toronto, ON M6E 2V4

When: The yoga classes are accessible to everyone, regardless of their ages every Saturdays at 10.00 a.m. The clinics are open every Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Please call for more information.

Contact: 416-469-9754 | |

Family Service Toronto – Seniors and Caregivers Support

Group Name: Family Service Toronto – Seniors and Caregivers Support

Description: Family Service Toronto (FST) helps people face a wide variety of life challenges. For almost 100 years, we have been assisting families and individuals through counselling, community development, advocacy and public education programs. Our services are available to everyone who lives or works in Toronto.

The Seniors and Caregivers Support Service Unit at Family Service Toronto provides social work services to older people and caregivers. Our work includes counselling, group work, advocacy, training and educational sessions on a variety of topics such as aging and memory loss, anger and guilt, how to access community resources, abuse of older adults, etc.
You can come to our office for counselling, attend support groups or educational seminars, talk to a trained counsellor by telephone or, in exceptional circumstances, arrange for a home/community visit. We are able to provide counselling in English and Spanish. We provide counselling services for those facing issues such as:

  • Dealing with chronic or degenerative illness
  • Stress in family relationships
  • Bereavement
  • The uprootedness and difficulty of adapting to a new culture at an advanced age
  • Caregiver stress
  • Elder abuse

Where: 355 Church Street | Toronto, ON M5B 1Z8

When: Please call for more information.

Contact: 416-595-9618 | |

The Etobicoke Children’s Centre – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Group Name: The Etobicoke Children’s Centre – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Parents & Children

Description: At The Etobicoke Children’s Centre, we are dedicated to providing services to children, youth and their families who experience challenges related to mental health and autism. We believe in a collaborative approach to addressing the needs of children and youth, working with parents, caregivers, and the community to promote support for the individual child and awareness in​ the community. Our multidisciplinary team assists at every stage, providing prevention, early intervention, consultation, treatment, and transition support, according to each family’s unique needs.

This group is an evidence based group based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn. This group has been developed by The ECC staff specifically for parents and children who want to experience less stress and have more positive experiences in their relationship. Through this group parents will:

  • Become more self-aware, mindful and purposeful in responding to their child
  • Learn ways of becoming more emotionally connected to their child
  • Learn to manage their response to their child’s challenging behaviour(s)

Through this group and using child oriented methods, children will: become more self-aware and mindful
This practise will help children to learn alternative ways of managing their thoughts and behavior. Who should come: Parents/Caregivers and children (ages 7-12) who experience ongoing stress individually and in their relationship. Pre-registration is required and only one child per family may attend the child group. Some child care is available with notice and advance registration. ***All participants are asked to participate in evaluation of their experience of this service.

Where: 65 Hartsdale Drive | Etobicoke, ON M9R 2S8

When: Sessions are offered in the fall, winter and spring. Please call for start dates. Group begins at 5:15 p.m. ( light supper is provided) and ends at 7:15 p.m. It runs once per week for ten (10) weeks.

Contact: Purnima 416-240-1111 Ext. 2315 | |

MicroSkills – Womens Services

Group Name: MicroSkills – Womens Services (Life Skills)

Description: Community MicroSkills Development Centre is a non-profit organization that has served communities in Toronto and surrounding areas since 1984. They provide settlement, employment, and self-employment services to individuals, with priority to the needs of immigrants, youth, visible minority people, and low-income women.

Womens Services (Life Skills)
We offer workshops that help women develop the skills, confidence, information, and personal networks they need to manage complex lives. Selected topics are determined by women’s interests, and can include:

  • Parenting
  • Interpersonal communications
  • Career planning
  • Managing work-life balance
  • Building self esteem
  • Living violence free

These workshops are open to all women in our community.

Where: 1 Vulcan Street | Etobicoke, ON M9W 1L3

When: Call for more information.

Contact: 416-247-7181 Ext. 2328 | 1-877-979-3999 | |

Peer Support at Work


In recent years, most employee assistant programs (EAPs) have noticed an upswing in the number of employee mental health claims. Unfortunately, with the changing and increasingly uncertain world of work, these numbers are expected to grow. However, good self-care and social support can go a long way towards mitigating work related stress. To this, listed below are three employee self-care and social support options:

  1. Employees can be encouraged to foster at least one good work relationship! The recent State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for US Business Leaders   report notes that workers are happier in their jobs when they have friends at work.
  2. Employees can be encouraged to collaborate with their employers to develop employee peer support programs! These programs boast many benefits, including the exchange of employee best practices for self-care at work. For companies who recognize the potential benefits of developing a peer support program, the Emergency Support Network provides many useful tips (including the five organizational fallacies that hinder employee peer support programs).
  3. Employees (who are unable to make meaningful workplace connections) can be encouraged to seek support outside of work ( from a trained counsellor or from peer support groups managed outside the workplace)!

For additional information about peer support please visit!

Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic – Spirited Women

Group Name: Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic – Spirited Women

Description: The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic is a specialized clinic for women experiencing violence. The clinic offers legal help in family, immigration and criminal law, compassionate support from diverse, skilled counsellors, and interpretation and translation in more than 90 languages. It advocates for law reform and social changes that benefit women. The Clinic also provides professional development opportunities for service providers. Language interpreters are available in over 60 languages for non-English women.

Spirited Women
Spirited Women is an introductory 6 week group for women who are survivors of violence. Prior group experience is not necessary. Even if you have participated in a group before, this group may be for you. Come together with women in community and out of isolation. Topics include:

  • How might I better manage in those challenging times when I feel overwhelmed?
  • What resources are available to me?
  • How does violence affect us?
  • Do I use substances to cope?
  • What is a healthy relationship & how can I have one?

For more information and to register, please call Intake. Language interpretation and limited childcare are available and must be booked in advance of the group. TTC tokens are available for those in need.

Where: 489 College Street, 3rd Floor Room 302, | Toronto, ON M6G 1A5

When: 6 Thursdays starting January 29th, 2015 until March 5th, 2015. 2:00 p.m until 4:00 p.m. Off for 2 weeks and then resumes for another 6 weeks.

Contact: 416-323-9149 Ext. 234 |

Tips for managing loneliness

The Statistics Canada 2011 Census  “counted more one-person households (3,673,305) than couple households with children (3,524,915) for the first time”. This means that more people  are learning to live alone. For most, this will involve luxuriating in the benefits of living alone (i.e. doing whatever you want, whenever and however you want) and also learning to manage some of the challenges – like loneliness.

While it is normal (and sometimes okay) to “periodically” feel lonely (and to be alone ),  there are instances when prolonged feelings of loneliness (from the inability to connect with others in a meaningful way) and isolation (from real or self-imposed conditions) can start to negatively impact our health.

For anyone trying to manage loneliness, here are three (finance friendly) things worth trying:

  1. Learn more about managing loneliness! At the Discovery website  Susan Sherwood Ph.D. offers ten options for better managing and staving off loneliness.
  2. Join or start a social group!  Visit to find a like-minded group to do an activity with. This website (and the groups hosted) caters to people of all ages and persuasions. There is a large pool of groups to choose from (i.e. foodies, travel, movies, language, karaoke, camping, tea, photography, etc.). 
  3. Join or start a peer support group! Visit to find a peer support, or to learn how to start your own. In a peer support group you can meet and speak with people who are managing concerns similar to your own (.i.e. diabetes, depression, loneliness, social anxiety, death/loss, workplace stress, addictions, etc.).

Self-help and the biopsychosocial model

The biopsychosocial model (BPS)   is an approach to healthcare that assumes that a person’s biology (health condition), sociology (living conditions) and psychology (state of mind) contributes to their overall well-being.

While the BPS model has garnered some critics, it is still widely embraced by health service providers (doctors, psychologists, social workers, etc.). It is widely embraced because it provides a very holistic approach to healthcare. And, it is applicable to many health conditions and situations. Also, health service providers, who use this model, are able to develop very comprehensive treatment plans. These treatment options give careful consideration to their client’s unique health conditions, living conditions and state of mind. As such, it is a very empathetic approach to care, which seeks to address the clients overall healthcare needs. This is in stark contrast to the traditional bio-medical healthcare model, which only addresses  the client’s physical needs.

The BPS model is also very user friendly, and can be used by anyone. It can be adopted by the non-professional, as a self-help tool (or self-care action plan) to support their overall healthcare. The diagram in Figure A provides an example of how the BPS model might be used – or adopted – by someone diagnosed with depression.

Figure A:


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