Whether you’re looking for employment or employees, At Work can help!
At CMHA NS, we know that working has significantly more value than a paycheck. The opportunity to find and maintain safe, sustainable employment has been shown to help stabilize people living with or experiencing a range of mental health conditions. Employment also promotes growth and stability and provides daily structure and meaningful experiences.
The At Work program connects Nova Scotians living with a mental illness, mental health challenges or substance use disorder who are unemployed or under-employed to workplaces that match their strengths, skills, and needs as a way to build resilience and bring experienced employees to workplaces.
At Work is a national program delivered by the Canadian Mental Health Association in communities across Canada, including Nova Scotia.
This free program is available to any Nova Scotian over the age of sixteen who is:
- Legally entitled to work in Canada
- Resides in Nova Scotia
- Unemployed or underemployed
- Lives with a mental illness, mental health challenge or substance use disorder (no diagnosis required)
Mental illness shouldn’t be a barrier to employment.
- Available to anyone in need of work with mental health or addictions issue (no diagnosis required)
- Individuals can’t have received employment insurance benefits within five years of entering the program (extenuating circumstances can be reviewed)
- Funding support for career training opportunities
- Mental health supports: one-on-one peer support; resilience, self-control, self-esteem, self-autonomy coaching
- Resume development and interview guidance
- Rapid job placement offers the opportunity to experience different work settings/industries
- Temporary utilities and rent support to ensure stable housing, as needed
- Referrals may come from family/child services, employment agencies, social service agencies, Nova Scotia Health Authority, justice services
- Wage subsidies available to employers for up to four months
- Availability of motivated, trained, skilled candidates
- Ongoing case management fosters employer-employee relationship, ensures success
- Rapid, internship-style job placement allows for no long-term obligation by the employer
Our approach: Supports through At Work|Au travail are based on the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model, a recognized industry best practice for employment support of individuals experiencing mental illness. IPS includes eight core principles:
- Competitive employment – Identifying career-oriented jobs that pay liveable wages
- Systematic job development – Engaging employers, based on the client’s preferences, to understand their business needs and hiring preferences
- Rapid job search – An approach to help job seekers obtain jobs rather than assessments, training and counselling, with the first face-to-face contact with an employer within 30 days
- Integrated services – Supporting clients with mental health coaching and connections to additional services
- Benefits planning – Helping clients obtain personalized, understandable, and accurate information about workplace benefits and government entitlements
- Zero exclusion – People are not excluded based on readiness, diagnoses, symptoms, substance use history, psychiatric hospitalizations, homelessness, level of disability or legal system involvement
- Time-unlimited supports – Individualized, face-to-face support continues at least monthly for as long as the client wants and needs
- Worker preferences – Services are based on each client’s preferences and choices rather than employment specialist or supervisor judgments
Background: People with mental illness can, should and often need to work. The social costs of the unemployment and underemployment of people living with mental illness are incalculable: deteriorated health, additional health care costs, financial struggle for families, among many others. Additionally, work gives a source of purpose and allows us to contribute to our families and society. Sustained employment is an incredibly important factor for recovery.
To learn more, contact:
Tracy Hiltz, Provincial Lead At Work program, CMHA NS Division
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Direct Line: 902.517.2430