Links to Employment helps job seekers with persistent and multiple barriers reach their goals of obtaining meaningful training, volunteer work, and/or employment. Employment can be central to recovery and growth as work is a structured, purposeful activity that can enhance self-esteem and a sense of well-being within society. Employment and education are also a vital aspect of fostering connection, wellness, and resilience for members of a diverse community.
Launched in 2020, the program is a partnership between the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and the University of BC.
Who is the program for?
Links to Employment provides support to British Columbians who:
- Want to obtain meaningful training, volunteer work, and/or employment
- Are on PPMB (Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers) or PWD (Persons with Disabilities)
- Are eligible for PPMB and may be receiving Income Assistance
How is the program delivered?
The program is available in person at primary care sites across at least two BC communities, or virtually via secure phone or video. Participants have time-unlimited access to the program and can stay in the program until they determine they no longer need services.
Program staff includes:
- An Occupational Therapist supporting participants with their mental and physical wellness using a trauma-informed and evidence-based approach. Some services include but are not limited to skill building, self-management and psychosocial assessment and intervention.
- A Vocational Counsellor providing participants with personalized, evidence-based employment support to help participants obtain meaningful work.
- A Job Developer establishing meaningful and focused connections with employers to create links to long-term employment opportunities for program participants, and providing tailored job options with accommodations to meet the needs of each participant.
Staff work alongside other clinicians in the primary care setting to connect participants to services that promote health and wellness and provide participants with individualized support in areas such job searching, job readiness and skill-building. These supports start right at entry to the program and staff help participants with rapid job searching, using the process to build confidence, learn employment skills, and develop resilience.
Referrals to the program can be made by any clinician or clinic staff at Three Bridges or REACH clinic. The only referral criteria is that the person being referred has a goal to work. Individuals can also self refer to the program if they attend Three Bridges or REACH clinic.
Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Model
Links to Employment is based on the evidence-based IPS Model, which offers individual, customized support to participants that focuses on connecting participants with meaningful employment as a way to aid in recovery, strengthen confidence, and overcome barriers to overall well-being. Employment support is seen as a way to enhance specific determinants of health related to financial stability and employment. IPS was originally developed and researched as a model to work effectively for people with serious mental illness and addictions.
The program includes a 2-year research study component led by Dr. Skye Barbic at the University of BC. Research aims to understand the effectiveness of a holistic IPS intervention within primary care. This study will measure how effective IPS service is in helping people secure sustainable employment and will also assess participant mental health, personal recovery, and quality of life measures for the duration of the study. Through this study, we hope to gain a better understanding of peoples’ experiences of the IPS program, as well as barriers to service and additional factors which enhance long-term employment. Interested participants can be referred to the study by their Health Care Professional.
Links to Employment is funded by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.
For more information about the program or to refer an individual, please contact:
Vocational Counsellor, CMHA BC
Occupational Therapist, CMHA BC
Job Developer, CMHA BC