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Emplopyment Support Available in Ontario for Individuals with Mental Illness Erin Kemp, Resource & Information Specialist, Job Skills

About the Author

Erin Kemp is a Resource & Information Specialist with Job Skills - Employment and Business Services. Erin has an extensive background working in the social science field and most recently completed her Masters in Sociology from the University of Waterloo. Working with people in the community is something Erin strives for and aided in her decision to change career paths to employment services. Erin assists clients by providing them the necessary resources and information they need to progress in their job search.

Do You Have Limitations and Feel You Are Unable to Work? You Are Not Alone!

In the past, very little information, knowledge or supportive services were available to individuals who struggle with mental health concerns; often labeled by most as a mysterious word that only affected a small number of people and information and supports were scarce. Fast forward to today, information and supportive services are often found in many communities, workplaces and educational institutions. There is an ever-increasing demand for assisting those individuals with a mental illness seeking employment as the unemployment rate for these individuals' ranges from 70-90% (source: Canadian Mental Health Association). Often individuals with more serious illnesses are worried about the stigma associated with their illness in the workplace and have greater barriers to employment: lack of confidence, fear and anxiety, gaps in employment history, and limited work experience. If you struggle with any of these barriers, you may also struggle with finding employment. Employment supports for individuals with a mental illness have been put in place to help these individuals to identify an appropriate career path.

What can Employment Ontario Employment Services (EOES) offer?

EOES agencies offer a number of programs and services for individuals who are looking to change career direction, re-entry into the workforce and training programs. Employment Consultants are able sit down with individual clients and will help the client identify their needs, employment goals and assist them in identifying their transferrable skills to a resume format that can be presented to employers. Clients will also be assisted with learning job search techniques and can attend career assessment workshops to identify their skills, abilities and interests. Once the client's individual needs are determined, Employment Consultants are also able to do community partner referral to other agencies for additional support. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CAM-H) is one possible resource a client can be referred to. This program involves employment workshops, and job coaches with both CAM-H and other EOES agencies. Both organizations work in partnership as service providers to ensure client needs are met. Also, each EOES agency provides a Resource Centre with job postings, community resources, computers, and other valuable resources available to assist individuals with their job search. There are also government-funded programs that may be available to clients. Two examples of successful training opportunities have been: entrepreneurship programs starting a small business that allows individuals to work; and be financially independent and retraining opportunities to help find a more suitable career. If individuals are in need of additional employment supports, these agencies can work together to provide clients with referrals to outreach services throughout the area. These services are available to help individuals with their specific needs so they become job ready.

To find out an EOES agency that provides the services you require, visit the following online service from Ontario's Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities:

http://feats.findhelp.ca/eng/search.html

The link provides a search engine where users can search for Employment Ontario services by postal code.

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