Change is part of life. In every culture, a person’s roles and responsibilities change as they grow older. But while all changes bring with them new challenges, certain life events can introduce loss and instability.
Leaving one’s orthodox or hasidic community is a change that could involve significant loss. A person may be rejected by family and friends, lose their homes, jobs, or status within the community. Moreover, leaving the community can be a continuous stressor, meaning that the challenges can be drawn out over many months or years. As a member of Forward, you will likely meet people who are facing difficult circumstances, and consequently, mental health problems. This guide will show you how to find support for members in need.
Navigating Free Mental Health Services in Montreal
- Call 911 or go to the closest Emergency Room. A mental health crisis is an emergency if the person is at risk of harming themselves or others. They may be suicidal, threatening violence, or experiencing hallucinations or delusions that put their safety or the safety of others at risk. In such situations, an individual will need emergency attention. You may accompany a non-violent individual to the ER, but call 911 instead if there is any indication that you will be harmed by intervening on your own.
- Call a crisis line. Sometimes people in crisis have suicidal or harmful thoughts that they do not intend to act on. They may require immediate support, but may not need to go to the ER. There are several local crisis lines that can provide immediate telephone support in such situations:
~ Suicide Action Montreal provides 24-hour telephone counseling. 514-723-2000 or 1-866-277-3553
~ The Centre de Crise du Quebec, or Tracom 514-483-3033, also offers 24 hour telephone support. In addition, they offer up to 2 weeks of short-term housing, and up to 8-weeks of in-person support to help resolve ongoing problems (e.g., finding a job).
~ Additional crisis lines and centers can be found on this list from AMI Quebec.
- Call Info Sante at 811. If an individual is not in an emergency but is experiencing ongoing distress, Info Sante will help you find social, psychological, and/or medical services at your local CLSC.
- Call Ometz Intake at 514-342-0000. Agence Ometz’ services are wide-ranging and integrated: crisis intervention, mental health support, education and employment training, among others. The intake session is free and links to many other free services that one might need. Agence Ometz is ideal for members who are looking for support in multiple areas of life, beyond just mental health. Often improvments in one area enhances functioning in another–when for instance, finding a job reduces stress and improves health by allowing individuals to provide themselves with food and shelter.
- Visit the AMI Quebec website. AMI Quebec offers several free services that could be of interest to individuals leaving their orthodox or hassidic communities. This includes emotional and interpersonal skills training, counselling, and support groups.
- Email me to set up a consultation. I am a member of the board of directors at Forward and serve as the organization’s mental health consultant. If you are a member of Forward, I will speak with you for a brief confidential assessment with the goal of providing immediate recommendations for finding additional support. This may include one of the following:
~ An appointment with our Psychiatrist, Dr. J.F. Rivest
~ An appointment with our Social Worker, Amanda Tetrault
~ Recommendation to pursue one of the support services listed above.
Levi Riven, M.A., Clinical Psychology
Vers L’Avenir Forward Montreal