Initiated in 2009 by the Toronto branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, The Opening Doors Project is a Train-the-Trainer project designed to promote strengthened participation of immigrants and refugees in civil society. It does this by offering skills and work experience to newcomers living with mental health issues. These individuals are called Peer Trainers and lead workshops about anti-racism/anti-discrimination within host and newcomer communities.
The Project consists of 10 activity-based workshops on mental health, stigma, anti-discrimination/anti-racism and settlement experiences and stresses. The workshops are delivered by Peer Trainers in organizations, institutions and communities throughout Toronto and a variety of cities across Ontario.
As of March 2012, Peer Trainers have facilitated 463 workshops with 5,929 participants in 30 cities across Ontario. These workshops challenge the stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness. They explore the diverse struggles many immigrants face and speak to strategies for dealing with racism and other forms of discrimination that affect individuals and communities.
-Ali Mohamud, for the Opening Doors Project