Learning about Trauma-Informed Care, en français

28 March, 2024 | Centre de santé Saint-Boniface

A group of francophone service providers gathered in late February to spend a day learning how to better support immigrants, refugees and asylum-seeking families and individuals. The workshop speaker, Dr. Garine Papazian-Zohrabian, is a psychologist who spoke about trauma-aware ways of being, and the impacts of grief, migration and war on how new arrivals to Canada seek supports and care.

Janelle Delorme, Manager of Indigenous Relations, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for Centre de santé Saint-Boniface, helped organize the conference, along with Santé en français and funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. “The demographics of who we’re caring for at Centre de santé have changed a lot through the years,” she shares. “We serve a diverse population, and we need to know how to care for our clientele in the best way possible.”

One of the key takeaways from the workshop was a simple concept: relationships matter. “Dr. Garine shared with us that we can make assumptions about someone’s experience based on their history, but we’ll never really know what’s going on until we get to know them,” continues Delorme. “Even if two people come from the same war-torn region, one person might be traumatised, and another might be fine. We have to be curious as care workers and take the time to listen.”

While the workshop was delivered through the lens of immigration and refugees, Delorme believes that many of the same principles apply to communities in Manitoba that face barriers to care. “Garine acknowledged individual, collective and intergenerational trauma in the Indigenous community, for example,” continues Delorme. “She, herself, is from a community that has suffered genocide. She acknowledges who she is and what she brings to the table, but she also sees parallels in the community setting. There might be similar reactions or dynamics at play here in terms of relationships with systems that often fail people.”

Delorme was also heartened to see the francophone community pull together to attend the training. There were representatives from Centre de santé Saint-Boniface, Accueil francophone, Pluri-elles, ChezRachel and the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine, among others. “ There aren’t many opportunities to receive highly specialized training in French,” shares Delorme. “This is a chance to cost share, but also a chance to be with other agencies that we work with. We can get to know each other, network and share our experiences. We’re trying to build opportunities to be together and learn so we can collectively support our community.”

She also sees it as another step towards a more inclusive province, especially when it comes to health care. “I absolutely loved the day, and I think that people took away what they needed to get from it, both personally and professionally,” Delorme continues. “The work of diversity, equity and inclusion can be done at so many levels and in so many ways. Learning about trauma-informed care for immigrant and refugee community gives me practical tools that our team can begin implementing right away.”