Last week my depression was hitting me pretty hard. The combination of not working, lack of friends among other factors got to me. Following the advice from a kind doctor, I called the 211 number to seek out help with my mental health and job hunting.
After being transferred to a few places, I finally spoke to a directory assistant. She was polite and calm while listening to my main problems. I got frustrated at her when she suggested I should apply for “income assistance”. At this point, I flat out told her that what I needed was a job, not “income assistance” and that I wouldn’t qualify for such assistance anyway since I am not a Canadian citizen/ permanent resident and without children.
I admit I was baffled and appalled by this small realization that it would be easier to get “income assistance” or welfare, as known in the US than it is to get a job. I want to go out and make the best of living here the best way I can. Working would keep my mind off of the loneliness/lack of socializing/boredom until I can officially leave Canada.
The directory assistant was silent. Then she started to give me several places to call for scheduling an appointment with a mental health professional in Edmonton. Out of all of those numbers, the most useful one was the number for an employment agency that specializes in finding jobs for immigrants.
I had to bite my tongue on that one. It’s one agency that hasn’t ignored me (yet) after several attempts to get a job from hundreds of job agencies in the area. I thanked the assistant for her patience, hung up and started to call all of the phone numbers to try to access these mental health professionals. All of my calls went straight into voice mails.
I had better luck contacting the immigrant employment agency. I’ve managed to schedule an appointment for next week (requiring paperwork!). I hope this will not turn out to be a dead end.