Links to Employment helps job seekers with persistent and multiple barriers reach their goals of obtaining meaningful training, volunteer work, and/or employment. The program provides a full range of support and services that are incorporated into a comprehensive treatment plan that is delivered through a Primary Care Centre. Employment can be central to an individual’s recovery and growth as employment 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 Links to Employment program is a partnership between the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division (CMHA BC) and the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Read the 2023 news release here to learn about the new, three-year grant that will strengthen and expand the program’s reach into new BC communities. CMHA BC is thrilled to be launching the second phase of the program and continue the implementation of an integrated system of mental health support for people with long-term experience of complex barriers to employment.
Who is the program for?
Links to Employment provides support to British Columbians who:
- Are registered and actively engaged with a designated Primary Care Centre
- Have a desire to attain meaningful employment and/or volunteer work
- Face multiple health and social barriers
- Are not receiving services from another Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program or mental health team
How is the program delivered?
The program is available in-person at three primary care sites across BC communities, or virtually via secure phone or video. In the next phase, the project will expand to more BC locations. 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. Some services include providing links to long-term employment opportunities, job coaching, job sustainment support, and assisting participants with acquiring the skills and/or training needed for sustainable employment.
- Peer Support Worker utilizing their lived experience and expertise, providing support to participants along their vocational and recovery journey.
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 Vancouver 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.
Referrals to the Vernon program can be made through the Urgent and Primary Care Centre.
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 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 research study component led by Dr. Skye Barbic at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The aim is to understand the effectiveness of holistic IPS intervention within primary care. 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 Links to Employment or healthcare professional.
“This program has been very supportive and thoughtful in listening to my needs and providing relevant resources. This program has been the deciding factor in my ability to return to work and reconnect with society again, despite my disabilities.”
“Before the support of the LINKS Employment Program I felt defeated, confused and like I couldn’t find purpose or passion from an occupational perspective. I could not find a way to be a contributing member of society in a way that aligns with my values….the childcare industry is a career path that this program has helped me discover and is the occupational purpose and meaning I have been searching for. This brings me joy, pride and this is what I value.”
For more information, please contact us at email@example.com or 236-330-8098.
Links to Employment is funded by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.