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Filed under: 2ronto Diaspora

Across Boundaries - Holistic Healing, Help and Hope for the Mind Featured

Written by Winnie Czulinski | Published Friday, 29 January 2010 02:48 |

"I think Across Boundaries has helped me by giving me good life skills and giving me support with my illness."
"The staff has great concerns to the clients, which involve freedom, rights and coping skills with one's life events.”
"Across Boundaries has helped me in so many ways. I get to learn English, computer training, yoga, exercise, and talking in peer support groups.”
These are just three of the many voices of people who have come to Across Boundaries, a Toronto organization providing multicultural help for mental health problems.

How multicultural? Currently, there are services in languages including: Urdu, Hindi, Tamil, Farsi (Dari and Pashto) Somali, Swahili, Amharic, English, Mandarin, Pilipino, Sinhalese, Arabic, Antawi, Yoruba, and Punjabi.
"When people are in crises they would prefer to talk to someone who can easily understand them,” says Martha O’Campo, Manager of Education and Resource at Across Boundaries. “They don't want to have to worry about what's the right language for my crisis?’"

Whether it's during a holiday season, when seasonal festivities can be a source of stress, or any other time of year – it’s tough trying to cope with mental illness. It can affect all areas of a person’s life – home, work, relationships, and hope for the future.

Across Boundaries’ services include Adult Mental Health and Addiction, Youth Mental Health and Substance Abuse, and the Mental health and Justice Initiative. The organization believes in an approach that’s well-rounded, holistic, and relevant to that person’s culture.
Across Boundaries explores the interdependence of: spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, social, cultural, linguistic, economic, and environmental aspects of health that affect the well-being of racialized people. The role of the family and community in a person’s recovery and wellness is also recognized.

Across Boundaries partners with other help associations to address specific needs.
For example, there might be a client with a compulsive gambling problem. “Usually they are not just having a problem with that, but with some other issues in their life,” says Martha O’Campo.
“And that's where the kind of holistic approach we have here at the centre can help them. By partnering with different agencies, we’re able to help the client who might come in with multiple problems.”
There also are specialized programs focusing on creative expression and togetherness.
As one woman says, "the Art Therapy group allows me to exhibit my artistic ability and the Women's Group is a very valuable asset for me because I can share my experiences in life with others and I can give and receive support from the other women."

Across Boundaries’ website also features poems – with titles like “Dawn”, “In Search of Peace”, and “Positive Force”, written by some of its consumer survivors.
"When I first came to Across Boundaries, I was not very happy,” says one survivor. “But now I feel happy and positive about life."

To learn more about Across Boundaries and their programs including their Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression Training and Education visit www.acrossboundaries.ca

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