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What if I have Trouble Coping

New Canadians Centre sign

Coping is the process of managing stressful circumstances. Moving to a new country can be very stressful. You may experience  new challenges, and life may feel overwhelming at times. If you are having trouble getting used to life in Canada, know that this is common and you are not alone. In this section you can learn about some of the resources and options available to help you cope:

  • Talk to the settlement counsellors at the New Canadians Centre, they are familiar with the difficulties newcomers experience and can direct you to appropriate services.
  • Families and students in Peterborough and area schools can also connect with a Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) counsellor. They can meet you at neighbourhood schools to help with any settlement needs and concerns you may have. 
  • International students at Fleming College can seek assistance with orientation, immigration, medical and other needs. The College also offers a variety of counselling services to help domestic and international students resolve different concerns.
  • Trent University offers many resources to help international students feel at home in Peterborough. The University’s Counselling Centre also offers individual and group therapy workshops to domestic and international students.
  • Four Counties Crisis is a local program that provides 24/7 toll free telephone crisis intervention, counselling and access to community resources.
  • Settlement.Org provides an overall introduction to the many types of support services available in Canada.
  • Take time to enjoy your new life in Canada. Getting involved in the community will allow you to meet new people, include some fun in your daily routine and help ease some of the feelings of loneliness you may be experiencing.

There are many multicultural groups and organizations in Peterborough. Information on existing groups and a guide on how to form your own multicultural group can be picked up at the New Canadians Centre.

You can also meet other immigrants online. Loon Lounge is an online social networking website for prospective and current immigrants to Canada. There you can meet people, ask questions, share experiences and advice. Settlement.org hosts a discussion forum specific to settlement in Ontario.

While coping with some challenges takes time, and while some may be beyond your control, paying attention to the different areas that make up your individual health can help you cope with the day to day life.


Two men playing basketball. Both are jumping into air in front of the net, trying to get a basket

Eating a balanced diet not only helps you to look and feel good, but also ensures that your mind and body are fuelled to function at their best. Health Canada has developed Canada’s Food Guide (translated into 11 languages) to help you and your family make healthy choices. For a list of local grocery stores, farmers’ markets, as well as affordable food programs and food backs in Peterborough, please visit Food and Shopping.

Being physically active is just as important as proper nourishment. For tips and information to help build physical activity into a healthy lifestyle for you and your family, consult Health Canada’s Get Active Tip Sheets. For example, try cycling, walking, or jogging on the many Peterborough trails.  You can also purchase individual or family memberships at various fitness clubs in Peterborough.


Young girl working on a watercolour painting with lots of pink hearts on it

As a newcomer to Canada, you possess a wealth of knowledge and skills. For you to continue developing a strong sense of self and purpose, it is important to take advantage of the many opportunities for personal and professional development in Peterborough.

Nourish your mind by choosing from courses and workshops offered by the New Canadians Centre, the Peterborough Public LibraryTrent University, or Fleming College. Pay attention to local news and events that offer various opportunities to share your knowledge and skills with your new community, learn something new, and expand your social network.


7 young adults hanging out and talking on the stairs outside Trent University

Staying positive and keeping your self-esteem high are important for emotional wellness. Surround yourself with supportive people. Volunteer for something you are passionate about, and share your knowledge and experience with others.

The stress of migration, adaptation, trauma and loss may have huge and ongoing effects on your  mental health. Some days may be good, and some days may be difficult – coping with change isn’t always easy, and having these feelings is normal. There are resources available to help you. Alone in Canada: 21 Ways to Make it Better is a helpful pamphlet available through the Settlement.org website. Programs like the Opening Doors Project also recognize this and work to strengthen, foster and cultivate healthier communities in Ontario. Locally, 211Ontario.ca can direct you to mental health services in Peterborough. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) also provides valuable information and resources. The New Canadians Centre can also help you with any such challenges.

Relationships and Society

About 20 people enjoying a multicultural picnic in a park

Different people have different experiences settling into a new country. Many people go through the four common stages of adapting to life in a new culture, often referred to as “Culture Shock.” Culture Shock is not a medical condition, and is a normal part of the immigration process. It is temporary and, as a newcomer, there are things you can do to integrate and adjust to the new culture.

It is important to stay connected with friends and family back home. It is essential that you also take part in your new community and build a support network here. Participate in community events and programs or volunteer your time and skills to a worthy cause. Soon you will find that Peterborough is a welcoming community, and will begin to feel more at home.