Mental Health Interpreter Training

Limited English speakers and deaf consumers experience disparities in access to and quality of mental health and substance use care. Qualified medical interpreters can provide the critical link for people with limited English, immigrants, refugees and members of the deaf community to get the health services they need. Yet even experienced interpreters often find mental health and substance use sessions challenging, which in turn affects the quality of interpretation and, ultimately, patient outcomes.

There is very limited formal training in mental health and substance use interpretation available in Toronto, or in Canada.

In order to address this educational gap, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the University Health Network (UHN) partnered in 2012 to develop two half-day Mental Health Interpreter Training course, which were offered in 2012 and 2013 exclusively for the interpreter teams of both organizations. Each half-day session was offered six times in the Fall and Winter to give interpreters ample opportunity to participate. Over 130 interpreters participated in the sessions.

Upon conclusion of the course, all participants received a Certificate of Completion from CAMH and UHN stating that they attended 10 hours of professional development training on Mental Health for Interpreters

Building on the two half day trainings, CAMH has developed a professional development series for interpreters that are offered to both CAMH and UHN interpreters. Below is a list of the 2014 series titles:

  • Interpreting for clients in the Gender Identity Clinic
  • Interpreting for clients in the Dual Diagnosis Program
  • CAMH Client Rights
  • Interpreting for clients in the Addiction Programs
  • Privacy Issues for CAMH Clients
  • Interpreting for clients in General Psychiatric Unit (GPU) and Acute Care Unit (ACU)
  • Interpreting for clients in the Emergency Department (ED)
  • Interpreting for clients in the Child, Youth and Family Program

For more information please contact CAMH Interpretation Services at