Employment Program Announced for Recipients with Mental Health Concerns

Laura ManningNews

WINNIPEG – A new employment-focused program for employment and income-assistance recipients with mental health concerns was announced during CMHA’s open house to mark Mental Health Week. The Manitoba government will be working with the Canadian Mental Health Association to develop the program.

“Barriers to employment can negatively impact a person’s mental wellness and result in increased stress, anxiety and feelings of isolation,” said Minister Scott Fielding during CMHA’s open house “This initiative with CMHA supports our government’s goal to help EIA participants find the most direct route to employment and the program is showing positive results.”

The province is providing $200,000 annually to the Employment with Supports program, which promotes employment as part of overall mental health for those who have experienced isolation from the workforce. Overseen by the CMHA, it is an extension of the federally funded Employment with Supports Rapid Employment Program. Provincial funding allowed CMHA to hire two additional employment specialists and expand the program reach.

“We believe employment is an essential part of social and emotional well-being, and is also part of recovery for many who have experienced mental health concerns,” said Marion Cooper, executive director of CMHA, Manitoba and Winnipeg. “The goal is to assist people to gain competitive employment by working in partnership with them to develop a resume, prepare for interviews, learn interpersonal and interview skills, understand workplace expectations and maintain wellness on the job.”

Goals of Employment with Supports include:

  • assisting people to find a job, within six months of starting the program;
  • assisting individuals to complete a return-to-work action plan;
  • matching people with employers in the community; and
  • supporting the individual when required, to help ensure they maintain their employment.

“Research has shown early interventions and transitions to employment support independence, and satisfying employment provides a sense of purpose, pride and belonging,” said Fielding. “That’s why our government is working to provide better supports to help people obtain work and reduce dependency on EIA.”

Fielding noted that EIA caseloads in Manitoba have slowed in growth over the past year. In 2017-18, the rate of growth was two per cent, compared to 6.3 per cent in 2016-17 and 4.3 per cent in 2015-16.

More information on Employment with Supports is available through CMHA by calling 204-774-6442 or visiting https://mbwpg.cmha.ca/programs-services/employment-with-supports/.