“Of all persons with disabilities, those with a serious mental illness face the greatest barriers to employments.” (CMHA website).
The unemployment rate of persons with serious mental illness reflects these obstacles and has been commonly reported to range from 70%-90%, depending on the severity of the disability. (CMHA website).
Barriers to employment that adults with psychiatric disabilities face include gaps in work history, limited employment experience, lack of confidence, fear and anxiety, workplace discrimination and inflexibility, and social stigma.
The economic root of mental illnesses in Canada includes cost to the health care system (8 billion in 1998) with additional costs for time off work and need for disability and other benefits. In 1999, 3.8% of all admissions in general hospitals (1.5 million hospital days) were due to anxiety disorders, eating disorders and suicidal behaviour.
“4.7% of residents of Newfoundland and Labrador suffer from depression. Amin A. Muhammad Gadit, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Journal of Medicine, 2007 in comparing developed and non developed countries assigned the following rates of mental illness to St. John’s NL: Major Depression: 4.1-4.6%, Bipolar disorder: 0.2-0.6%, Dysthymia: 0.6-3.1%, Schizophrenia: 0.3%, Anxiety Neurosis: 12.2%.”
Employment is a major determinant of good health. Employment moves the participant from a consumer of services to a supplier of services for which they are paid and contribute taxes. It offers the companionship of fellow workers, involvement in the community, and opportunity to live independently, and engenders feelings of self worth and confidence.
Professional working with clients with mental health issues tell us that there is a local need for programming targeting this group of clients.
This 10 week Transitions to Work program is made up of three main components:
- A 4 week online program which will enhance employability skills while offering support from within the group and input from health care professionals and employment specialists.
- 2 weeks of workshops offered in a group setting to cover such areas as First Aid, Occupational Health & Safety, WHIMS, Healthy eating, Budgeting and Money Management, Communications and Employer expectations. These additional workshops will engender confidence in the participant’s practical skills to add to their resumes/portfolios.
- 3 week job shadowing component where six Employment partners will offer participants the experience of working in diverse work environments for a period of one week.
The Transitions to Work 2016 program was generously funded by Island Furniture and Scotiabank. Without the support of our corporate sponsors, programs such as these would not be possible. A sincere thank you from the team and clients at Ability Employment.