Refugee Wellness Advocate - 12 Month Contract
Reception House Waterloo Region
Kitchener, ON

Position Summary

The Refugee Wellness Advocate will work specifically with government assisted refugees, providing mental health support services navigation, referrals, case consultations and will function as a mental health lead within Reception House(RH) , sharing and disseminating emerging resources and information and helping staff and case managers to apply principles of empowerment, a strengths-based approach, and anti-oppressive practice towards all we do. This position will work one-on-one with refugees, who have been referred internally from RH settlement programs, as well as individuals referred from the wider community (privately sponsored refugees or other vulnerable newcomers as appropriate) who are looking for general mental health support and who may be in crisis situations.

The Refugee Wellness Advocate will provide:

  • Education and outreach to service providers about our role in the mental health eco-system in KW
  • Mobilize mental health and wellness best practices and disseminate to RH staff.- Case consultations to RH staff about trauma interventions and its impact on individuals, relationships and families
  • Direct crisis de-escalation and counselling when needed
  • Facilitate and coordinate psycho-educational groups and workshops
  • Provide service and referral mapping and planning in consultation with case managers and other front-line workers on issues related to acute mental health needs
  • Support and increase capacity of RH staff in addressing mental health challenges, assessing available support and advocating for services.
  • Work with RH leadership to develop grants and programs as they relate to client wellness needs.

All interventions will be carried out within a strengths based,culturally responsive, anti-oppressive framework intended to foster self-sufficiency and resilience.

Required Qualifications:


  • Masters of Social Work, Mental Health Counselling degree or equivalent experience in mental health, counselling or related field.

Experience and Skills

  • Minimum 3 years’ experience working in the community with newcomers to Canada
  • Knowledge of issues facing refugees to Canada or other vulnerable populations
  • Some experience doing crisis response and intervention and asset
  • Excellent cross-cultural communication skills, and experience working with people from diverse cultures, professional and educational backgrounds
  • Excellent teamwork, networking and partnership development skills
  • Experience in providing one-on-one support and supportive counselling an asset
  • Demonstrated skills in development and facilitation of group training sessions
  • Excellent communication skills in English, written and verbal; other languages an asset
  • Demonstrated ability to assess and communicate client progress towards wellness and articulate what factors may pose systemic barriers.
  • Solid computer skills, specifically with Microsoft Office, database systems and cloud applications

Job Type: Contract


  • English (Required)
  • Somali (an asset) (Preferred)