Skip to main content

Language and cultural barriers to mental health care

‘By the time we reach 40 years of age, half of us will have had or will develop a mental health problem. About 17% of British Columbians... are experiencing a mental illness or substance use issue today.’ (Canadian Mental Health Association).
Talking heads with speech bubbles
Use this image as both the current Page Image and for News listings

Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels and cultures. A 2018 study by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the Hospital for Sick Children in Ontario found that immigrant and refugee youth in Canada are more likely to visit the emergency room for mental health reasons than those born within the country – even if some of them have been living in Canada for over 10 years.

As Canada significantly increases immigration levels, we see an increasing number of immigrants settling in our province. With this reality comes a potential for more people with mental health issues, especially those who feel far from their original culture and social group.

Because we live in a very multicultural province with increasing linguistic diversity, for a large part of the population, mental health issues can be impacted by other elements, leveraging the feelings of helplessness, isolation and despair when solutions seem to be out of reach.

Stigma, language and trouble navigating the health care system can represent significant barriers to managing mental health. 

Here are some tools you might find useful: 

The following resources are available in French and English:

Visit for other articles, resources and information about mental health, in French and in English. 
SOURCE: Language and cultural barriers to mental health care ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © Provincial Health Services Authority. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2022 Provincial Health Services Authority