Canadian Mental Health Associations in 13 cities will receive $10 million over the next three years to aid individuals with mental health issues to find and maintain employment.
The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development, recently announced funding from the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities to support Creating Opportunity – A National Approach, a CMHA National Employment Project. The project was developed by CMHA Toronto Branch, which will oversee the project.
CMHA Toronto Executive Director Steve Lurie says the project draws on evidence-based approaches and can expect great results.
“The partnerships we will build with employers are key,” said Lurie. “This is a demand-side initiative, meaning that employers will be involved throughout and help advance workplace mental health and, in particular, employment opportunities for people who struggle with mental health issues.”
Peter Coleridge, National CEO, CMHA added that “a collaborative project of this scale across CMHAs is unprecedented. This funding will allow us to work directly with many individuals to make their goal of becoming employed reality.”
“The Creating Opportunity initiative is the next step of the work we’ve been doing with employers and unions over the past 15 years,” said Coleridge, referring to CMHA’s Workplace Mental Health Collaborative which includes initiatives such as the National Bottom Line Conference, Psychological Health and Safety Advisor Certification Program, and the Mental Health Works Program, each of which targets business leaders, union representatives, and others with the aim of improving the mental health of Canadian workplaces.
Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver have also been chosen to build on existing capacity created in housing first projects, which works with homeless people to secure housing. As part of the Opportunities Fund, these sites will work with housing first recipients to look for work after they have found housing.
“What our experience tells us is that for people who have struggled with mental illness or mental health difficulties, a job is not just a “job” – it’s often the chance to lead a productive and independent life, one that can contribute to personal recovery,” said Coleridge.
For more information on the project, visit the CMHA National website.