Malek’s Story: From Isolation to Hope

women looking out windowMalek came to Canada as a refugee, a single mother of two children and ready to end her life. She was alone, completely isolated and emotionally destroyed.

“I wanted to end my life,” she explains. “I was just on the edge. I didn’t know who I was.  I didn’t know who the people around me were. I was in a deep, deep depression.”

She was lucky to find help just in time. The Multicultural Service Coordinator at the Canadian Mental Health Association of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin collaborated with counsellors at Carizon to get Malek connected to psychiatry support right away through the Sanctuary Refugee Clinic.

“Timing was everything in my case.  This collaboration of care and support is the hand that brought me to life again.  All of the services they provided, combined together at the same time has been very effective for me.  Someone with complex health needs, a single parent with two kids to care for can’t wait months for help.  It is very important to get timely access to care.”

Malek’s counsellor provides counselling in her own language, and accompanies Malek to her to medical appointments acting as support and translator. Malek can understand what is happening and feels relieved knowing that her experiences and feelings will be shared accurately.

“This collaborative work saved me and also my family,” says Malek. “Emotions and language have to go hand in hand because emotions sometimes get lost in translations. Having a counsellor speaking my language is 50% of me being better I think. In mental health, it is important for someone to be able to express themselves in their own language.”