Self-Compassion as a Means to Decrease Depression Among Immigrant Adolescent Girls in Canada

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Grubisic, Maja
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This capstone project aims to explore the factors contributing to mental health issues and emotional distress of adolescent immigrants in Canada. It focuses on adolescent immigrant girls and hypothesizes that their rates of depression are higher than those of adolescent immigrant boys. As an immigrant myself, with this capstone, I set out to learn how the counselling profession could better serve the immigrant adolescent population in Canada. The literature review finds that Canadian immigrant adolescents are diverse in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, culture and social class. The studies' findings are mixed; some indicate that immigrant adolescents do better than non-immigrant peers, while others argue higher stress levels and mental health complications. Unifying protective factors for the mental health of immigrant adolescents are cohesive family relationships, academic success and strong support within the school and community environments. The research on immigrant adolescent girls' depression rates is sparse. Still, the challenges of adolescent development with the stress of immigration may contribute to higher risks of depression in this population. This paper contributes to the limited knowledge of Canadian immigrant adolescent girls' mental health and explores self-compassion as a therapeutic modality that may work well across diverse cultural backgrounds.
immigrant adolescents , depression , immigration , adolescence , self-compassion