This project retrospectively evaluated services provided by the Edmonton Centre for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (ECSTT). The centre, which opened in 1994, assesses the needs of refugee immigrants who have suffered torture and trauma and provides referrals to appropriate services. The ECSTT also maintains an on-site therapist, coordinates children’s and women’s programs, and trains lay counsellors. The study found that, overall, clients were happy with the support services and experienced improved mental and physical well-being. One of the key successes, especially for the Somali women, was the opportunity to meet others of the same ethnic origin, to speak their first language, and to share feelings of loneliness. Learning new skills — including speaking English, sewing, and using computers — was an important motivator to continue attending classes.
The full report for this project is available on the Alberta Health and Wellness web site at http://www.health.gov.ab.ca/system/key/phc/projects/other/Torture_trauma/description.htm
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.