Jessica Cashmore, a crisis response worker with the Canadian Mental Health Association Cochrane-Timiskaming Branch, is a shining example of what someone can achieve with a helping hand. Jessica, who is blind and also lives with depression, secured her job with the assistance of Northern College, her local Ontario Disability Support Program’s employment supports service provider.
Jessica’s story, featured in the video above, was recently posted to the Ontario government website. The video illustrates that by focusing on the skills they possess, a person with disabilities can search for and land the job they want.
Supported employment has been identified as a best practice for people with serious mental illness that helps them secure and retain employment.
Supported employment programs combine two key elements:
- mental health support, including monitoring medication and job coaching activities
- employment assistance, including resume writing, interviewing skills, and job search
CMHA Ontario advocates for appropriate, effective and accessible employment supports. It also convenes the Mental Health Employment Supports Program which provides a forum for more than 40 agencies to share program knowledge.
In 2010, CMHA Ontario hosted a forum to bring together employment supports providers in Ontario and the government ministries that fund them. During the forum, one particular area of employment supports that was identified as needing further nurturing and investment was skills development. Read more about the results of the forum.