For Immediate Release
Many Refugee Children Suffer Trauma - Hamilton’s OASIS Program is here to help
Children’s Mental Health Week: May 1-7, 2017
Last year, the Hamilton community received more than 1400 refugees from war-torn Syria. They came seeking peace, safety and security, and the hope of a better life for themselves and their children. About two thirds of these refugees are children under the age of 18.
Finding their way to physical safety and security in Canada is only the first step towards a life of peace and hope. Physical wounds may heal quickly; but emotional and psychological wounds take longer to surface and to heal. Often this healing requires specialized intervention.
As the only agency in Hamilton providing highly specialized refugee trauma treatment for children and youth, Thrive Child and Youth Trauma Services offers OASIS (the Outreach, Assessment and Specialized Intervention Services program).
The OASIS program is funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, The City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Community Foundation and generous donors.
Since last fall, OASIS has been overwhelmed by the demand for treatment services. At the end of March, our waitlist of Syrian children and youth in need of some kind of treatment, stood at 22. Our financial and clinical capacity is stretched to the limit. Children are waiting as long as 6 months or more to receive treatment.
Children can have an especially difficult time because they may have less ability to cope with their feelings. They may avoid going to school and have difficulty learning or making friends. They may experience anxiety, headaches, sleep interruption and nightmares, bedwetting, aggressive outbursts, depression or other symptoms.
Hamilton schools and sponsorship groups are often the first to identify a problem. They look to OASIS for the specialized treatment these children need.
"Classroom teachers and principals tell me what a difference Thrive's OASIS program makes for refugee children who are struggling with the effects of trauma. HWDSB educators highly value the specialized expertise of OASIS clinicians to provide support to these students to succeed fully in school."
- Christine Shaw ESL/ELD K-12 Program Consultant Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
“CMHA Mental Health Week started in 1951 to raise awareness for mental health inCanada. Held during the first full week in May, CMHA Mental Health Week is now a popular awareness week. … This year, as part of our Sick of Waiting: Get Loud for Mental Health campaign, we are paying special attention to long waits – the long wait to see a mental health professional, and the long wait for improvements to the mental health system of Canada.” – Canadian Mental Health Association
To learn more about Thrive’s OASIS program, or to arrange an interview, please call the number below.
Contact: Katie Gorrie 905-523-1020 ext. 210