Friday, February 23, 2024

Nanaimo testing new pilot program to help those in recovery find meaningful employment


British Columbians in five select cities who are recovering from mental-health and addiction challenges will be able to take part in a pilot program which helps them find employment as part of their recovery journey.

The goal of the program is to help people find meaningful employment, financial security and independence. 

Nanaimo has been selected as one of the five cities to embrace this pilot program along with Vernon, Kamloops, Penticton and Prince Rupert.

Connective is the Nanaimo-based recovery centre chosen. It is a community-based non-profit with ties to BC and Yukon. 

At Connective, staff try to weave a strong social safety net, taylormade for any and all who come through their doors. To sum up what they do,they provide their clients all the tools they need to become more independent by removing barriers.

“We all want people going through addiction treatment to have the care and support they need to recover,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. 

“Integrating employment services into some publicly funded treatment beds will help people get the jobs and connections they need to build a better life.”

People in bed-based recovery centres will be able to access employment services so they can learn skills and get the support they need to re-enter the workforce following their treatment.

The BC government is giving a $4.9 million grant to the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division (CMHA BC), who will operate the program.

This program is evidence-based and trauma-informed so as to help people gently transition.

“The recovery journey does not end once you leave a recovery centre; this is why it’s important to support life and employment skills during treatment, which we know can help strengthen purpose and meaning in a person’s life,” said Jonny Morris, CEO of the CMHA BC.

“We hear from clients about how employment can provide a powerful remedy to support self-determination and dignity. Pairing people with employment supports is investing in wraparound recovery that benefits society as a whole.”

The pilot program is set to run for three years minimum, at which point its success will be assessed.

Curtis Blandy

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