Registered Social Worker, Mental Health Therapist And Sexual Assault Counsellor
Growing up, Reena Samra says she just wanted to fit in and that meant she wished she were white.
She even felt out of place in a yoga studio, which was ironic, as her family hailed from India, the homeland of the practice. But she never felt represented or safe in those spaces. “That’s a feeling I’ve had for a long time — that I don’t belong and that those spaces were not meant for people like me,” says Samra.
As a mental health therapist for CASA and a sexual assault counsellor for iHuman Youth Society, she noticed others felt the same way. So now, as part of her mental health practice, she teaches trauma-informed yoga. The goal is to help survivors heal from the psychological and physiological effects of trauma.
Samra and her colleagues also recognized that very few immi-grants were accessing mental health services. When they consulted with newcomer agencies, they discovered that many survivors of sexual violence felt shame, didn’t know how to access supports or felt that they weren’t culturally relevant.