The NAAM mental health wellness program is specifically designed to address the psychological well-being and emotional needs of individuals who have recently migrated to the United States. Recognizing the unique challenges and stressors faced by immigrants and refugees such a program aims to provide support, resources, and interventions to promote mental health and resilience.
The NAAM Wellness Groups are creating a supportive community that is vital for immigrants’ mental health. We facilitate support groups where immigrants can connect with others who share similar experiences, discuss common challenges, and provide mutual support. These groups offer a safe space for individuals to express themselves, share coping strategies, and develop a sense of belonging.
Following support groups are currently led by the clinical psychologists:
- Latino women
- Ukrainian women
- Afghan women
- Cameroonian women
Here’s an outline of our mental health wellness program for immigrants:
- Culturally Sensitive Assessment: The program begins with a culturally sensitive assessment to understand the mental health needs and challenges specific to the immigrant population. This assessment considers factors such as acculturation stress, trauma history, cultural beliefs, and migration experiences. We also assess what makes each participant smile.
- Recognizing language barriers, the program is offered in multiple languages with interpreters working alongside therapists and caseworkers. Our interpreters are an integral part of the program, allowing them to effectively communicate with immigrants who can comfortably express their concerns and feelings.
- The sessions meet either weekly or bi-weekly, by Zoom or in person, with a once-per-month for an experiential wellness program. This provides an opportunity for expert therapists to join us for in-person activities, such as yoga, expression through art, breathing techniques, massage, and forest bathing—a practice of bathing one’s senses with natural stimulation from the forest or other nature settings.
- The weekly sessions start with asking members to discuss a positive experience or a challenging moment that occurred during the week. We then follow with some breathing techniques and discussion of the monthly topic.
- The monthly topics address a myriad of mental health topics, including anxiety, mindfulness, stress reduction techniques (breathing, yoga), self-compassion and self-care, communication barriers, belonging and the importance of connection. Therapists are acutely aware of the cultural complexities of group participants, and while the topics are general, they are tailored with a sensitivity to each ethnic group, resulting in participants discussing and sharing thoughts as they learn to navigate emotional challenges, manage stress, cope with trauma, and build resilience. Each group communicates via a WhatsApp or Telegram group, which offers an opportunity for group members to connect and ask questions of each other in between sessions.
- Our NAAM Wellness Groups collaborate with a community program MANNA, whose mission is to help with food insecurity. MANNA invites each group to its kitchen to prepare a group meal, where MANNA provides the food. The women together create a shared eating event, which promotes connection, support and promotes discussion of mindful cooking and eating.
- The program establishes protocols for crisis intervention. If someone needs additional mental health services, it is brought to the attention of the case worker and Executive Director who will connect the participant to specialized services, such as psychiatric care or specialized trauma treatment, when necessary.
- Awareness: The program has a goal to raise awareness about mental health among immigrant communities.
By implementing the NAAM mental health wellness program for immigrants, individuals can receive the support and resources they need to address their emotional well-being, cope with the challenges of migration, and thrive in their new environment. The program emphasizes cultural sensitivity, community support, and empowerment, aiming to improve mental health outcomes and overall quality of life for our wellness group participants.