Community Engagement

WeSupport Chinese-Canadian Mental Health Support WeChat Group 

WeSupport Chinese-Canadian Mental Health Support Group is a non-profit volunteer-based organization, initiated by Chinese mental healthcare professionals and a team of Chinese researchers from Ryerson University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and University of Toronto. It is a community outreach of a research project funded by the federal government. The project was led by Dr. Lixia Yang from the Psychology Department of Ryerson University as well as Ms. Lydia Yang, a psychotherapist at the Wellness Counselling Centre for Youth Canada (WCCYC). During the initial period, WeSupport dedicated its efforts to providing counselling and emotional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. It aimed to turn the crisis into an opportunity for growth and support the mental health of Chinese Canadians during the pandemic.   

Since its launch in April 2020, WeSupport received support from various Chinese communities. It has held many on-line workshops to promote mental health, disseminate mental health-related resources to Chinese Canadians living in North America and around the globe. Through its continuous commitment, WeSupport aims to reduce stereotypes surrounding mental illnesses, increase awareness of mental health      and promote self-care and support for others. 

Established in North America, WeSupport seeks to provide emotional support and mental health-     related resources to Chinese population across the globe. Currently the platform consists of approximately 60 volunteers, serving 3 WeChat groups of approximately 1300 members. Its services and events received very positive feedback from its members and volunteers. For example, members commented that “this group is just like an oasis in a desert, and has offered a tranquil place for our hearts during such turbulent times,” and “I am certain that the selfless contributions of the volunteers will make more and more individuals to feel and spread love and warmth in Chinese communities.”   

Mission: WeSupport is also referred to as “The Sunshine Mental Health Project”. It promotes a culture of “self care and mutual support”. The objective is to share mental health related resources and promote mental health and wellness. WeSupport has recruited a dedicated team of volunteers to join its mini-sun volunteer team. Through weekly training, volunteers have the opportunity to gain mental health knowledge, practice and master self care and psychological support skills. This not only promotes personal growth and self-empowerment, but also allows them to apply the learned knowledge to raise awareness and promote mental health in Chinese communities. 

Standard Operation Procedure: Wesupport operates based on a hierarchical operating system, with staffs and volunteers working in small teams to take shifts to provide psychological and emotional support to their WeChat members. The management team includes Project director and co-director, Project Manager and Human Resource Manager, supervisors, and team leaders. The operational team consists of supervisors, team leaders and volunteers. The weekly on-duty team includes one supervisor and two teams, each with a team leader. 

Services: 

1. Provide psychological and emotional support

2. Share mental health related resources through weekly newsletters and periodic announcements.

3. Offer regular volunteer training sessions led by professionals to empower volunteers and promote their personal growth.

4. Hold regular knowledge dissemination workshops to share mental health and wellness information and promote resilience in public.

5. Promote dynamic social interactions, self care and mutual support.  

Canadian Chinese Research Team: 

Dr. Lixia Yang (Ryerson University) 

Dr. Peizhong Wang (Memorial University of Newfoundland) 

Dr. Weiguo Zhang (University of Toronto) 

Dr. Xiaolin Wei (University of Toronto) 

The research project is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research  

Management Team: 

Project Director: Lixia Yang

Project co-director: Lydia Yang

Project Manager: Jun Zhang

Human Resource Manager: Ying Cao 

To join our volunteer or supervisor/leader team, please register here: https://tinyurl.com/yyjvyqg6

Email: sunteam.2u@gmail.com