Coast Mental Health is excited to be recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers for 2021.

“The BC Top Employer award is an opportunity for us as an organization to celebrate all the amazing contributions of our employees,” says Darrell Burnham, CEO, Coast Mental Health. “This award recognizes the hard work of our essential front-line workers who continue to provide exceptional client care during challenging circumstances.”

Since 1972, we’ve worked to help those who experience mental health challenges by providing housing, support services, and employment and education opportunities. Over the years, our organization has grown substantially, and we now have 52 facilities across the Greater Vancouver Area. We know that this growth would not have been possible without our team of devoted and passionate employees. And, we’ve built a strong working community within our organization by ensuring that every employee is seen and heard.

Recovery and Rehabilitation Program

Employees at the Recovery and Rehabilitation program connect to discuss client activities for the day.

“At Coast, my opinions are valued and my feedback is taken into consideration,” says Veena Reddy, a manager of our Recovery and Rehabilitation program, as well as the senior manager for Timbergrove enhanced supportive housing. “We’re recognized not just as a number, but as a person and as part of a team.”

Reddy further explains how she appreciates the organization’s values and mission, which allows her to care for each client and their specific needs. 

Reddy says, “we integrate a collaborative approach to recovery that involves  staff, clients, and when appropriate family and caregivers.”

Reddy first became a part of the Coast family when she was offered a bursary to enroll in a Mental Health and Addictions diploma. After finishing, she worked as a practicum student before joining Coast Mental Health as casual staff and then full-time staff. Reddy was promoted to Acting Coordinator, Program Coordinator, and then assigned managerial positions.

“Coast Mental Health recognized my strengths and allowed me to grow within the organization,” she says. “Throughout my journey, I had the opportunity to take various courses to enhance my skills and education in order to provide nothing but the best care to our clients.”

Tools for learning resiliency, opportunities to explore career interests

Outreach street walks

Members of our Outreach Services Team hand out food and harm reduction supplies during regular street walks in the City of Vancouver.

We know it’s important to invest in each employee. Workers that are encouraged to learn and grow will be happier, more engaged and produce better client care and support. We help promote this by offering tools for learning resiliency and opportunities to explore career interests. For example, with 52 different work sites available, our employees can experience a range of different career environments and roles.

Working in healthcare can be both rewarding and challenging due to the job’s physical and  the emotional requirements. A healthy work-life balance is essential, and we’re so grateful to be recognized for our work towards reaching that ideal equilibrium.

Sometimes that simply means celebrating the people around us. Many employees at Coast have lived experience with mental health challenges and this has created a tight-knit community that is supportive of one another.

“There always seems to be an impromptu gathering at one of our sites,” says Deborah Maynard, Chief Human Resources Officer at Coast Mental Health. “Our staff work really hard, but as a family, we also know when it’s time for some laughter and a little bit of silliness.”

Coastview Apts. 12 year anniversary bbq

Coast Mental Health employees working at Coastview Apts. organize a BBQ to celebrate their 12 years in operation.

We also make sure to implement health and wellness initiatives. These include a comprehensive health benefits package and family assistance plan, online counselling supports and regular health and safety workshops. Our employees also become members of BC’s Municipal Pension Plan, the largest pension plan provider in Canada.

Lastly, we make sure to reflect our diverse workforce in every policy we create. Our initiatives are made with each individual in mind, not just the organization as a whole.

“I believe we have many employees who are up and coming leaders and the future of our organization,” says Maynard. “When I think about our staff, I don’t worry about the future because I know it’s in good hands.”