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Idiailogue Forum

Culture & Mental Health




“Culture and Mental Health”



Cindy del Villar, M.S.W. Youth & Family Counsellor, Rapport Youth and Family Services

Cindy del VillarCindy del Villar is a Youth and Family Counsellor at the Rapport Youth and Family Services Centre and has her Masters in Social Work. She studied at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto. Cindy completed her Master’s thesis on the experiences of victimization of immigrant youth. She has fourteen years of work experience in mental health organizations in Canada and internationally. The Rapport Youth and Family Services Centre provides individual and family counseling, community education, group therapy as well as walk-in counseling services to residents in the Peel region.



Michael Taylor, Mental Health Professional & Former Manager of Spiritual Care, Centre for Addication and Mental Health

Michael TaylorImam Michael AbdurRashid Taylor holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from Regis College of the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the Rotman School of Management’s Leadership Development Program. Michael has held varied positions including management roles with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Ontario Multifaith Council.

His varied experience in institutions and as an Organizational Development Leader spans over 20 years. Imam Taylor is the current Secretary of the Canadian Council of Imams and is the recently appointed, Ontario Regional Chaplain for the Correctional Services of Canada.

Michael’s experience includes many years working with people living with mental illness and addictions, and he is the Director of Islamic Chaplaincy Services Canada.”

Culture and Mental Health: Report


Culture and mental health tend to be on opposite ends. Cindy del Villar Nash explained the stigma surrounding mental health and the denial of a mental health ever effecting oneself. She further explained the many myths surrounding mental health illnesses and the causes of it. She discussed the growing internal fears of the individual experiencing the illness and the possible solutions one can find and work on to improve one’s health. Cindy touched on how to  integrate culture when in counseling and the importance of taking cultural differences into account.

Michael Taylor was the second speaker at the culture and mental health luncheon. He spoke about the myths surrounding mental health illnesses and integrated his experience in theological studies. He explained biasness that occur against taking counseling and visiting a psychiatrist by various cultures. He also explained the importance of health care being provided at locations that provide faith care as well. He touched on how mental health stigma’s change in different cultures, making it difficult for those struggling with a mental health illness to look for help.

Cindy del Villar and Michael Taylor both focused on how mental health illnesses are viewed in certain cultures and talked about ways that it can change. In order to spread awareness about mental health and the stigma’s surrounding it, we as a society needs to first educate ourselves and slowly work towards understanding and compassion for those struggling with mental health illnesses.

By interns Humda & Rebecca