Immigrant Outreach Society (IOS) was established to fill the mental health and psychosocial service gaps that exist for black immigrants in Calgary Alberta Canada due to systemic and structural racism. Black immigrants are underrepresented in the mental health system and face discrimination as the current system does not fit with their culture and language needs.

As a consequence, the rate of mental illness occurrence, substance abuse, suicide, family violence, divorce, child abuse and neglect among blacks is disproportionally higher than their white counterparts. We have witnessed so many of our youth committing suicide, die of substance overdose as well as black youth incarceration, gang-related violence, and homicide to the extent that it is becoming “normal.”

To fill these service gaps, Immigrant Outreach Society aims at providing linguistically and culturally appropriate mental health and psychosocial services for individuals and families, with an awareness of their pre-migration experiences and structural barriers faced by black immigrants.

The following are our strategies:

  • Providing culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate mental health intervention

  • Support blacks with their psychosocial needs, such as parenting, homeschooling, youth guidance

  • Creation of a platform for advocacy and information and helping blacks access services by becoming a one stop shop.