Employment Gives Matt Purpose and Dignity

“I love working,” says Matt.

A year and a half ago, Matt was struggling to find and keep a job. Today—thanks to the experience he has gained from Coast Mental Health’s Transitional Employment Program (TEP)— he is weighing his options.

Matt is a member of the Employment Transitional Program at Coast Mental Health.

At 33, Matt is ready to take on new responsibilities and has just started a building service worker training program offered through TEP. He is also considering becoming one of our valued peer support workers.

Matt has come a long way since connecting with Coast’s services.

He is now better able to manage his mental health, he is clean and sober, and he has quit smoking. He attributes all these at least partially to his participation in our programs.

Transitional Employment Program (TEP)

A long-standing member of Coast Mental Health’s Street Clean Team in Vancouver.

“Having a job with the street cleaning program has helped a lot,” says Matt. “I had a hard time finding a job; my disability made it difficult. Now that I’m working, I have a reason to get up and a routine to stick to. I’ve been able to save some money. I pay all my bills, go out for dinner occasionally, and connect with friends. I feel good about myself, and I’ve accomplished a lot of goals.”

Like many members who work with TEP, Matt started out slowly, with one or two shifts a week working in communities throughout Metro Vancouver. As his confidence increased, so too did the number of hours he worked.

TEP participants can check in anytime with staff to talk about how the work is going and how it affects their lives.

Staff are available for whatever the person needs: be that walking the route with them so they feel more comfortable, providing training, and helping with resumes.

As a compassionate employer, we understand when mental health challenges arise and workers need to reduce their hours or take a break.

Training In Action

Fong is one of 38 members employed through the Transitional Employment Program at Coast Mental Health.

Matt has taken several training programs through Coast Mental Health including ones that teach how to prepare cover letters and resumes, how to search for jobs, interviewing skills, FOODSAFE certification, and non-violent crisis intervention training.

“I’m so thankful for Coast; it’s important for someone like me to have a safe place to come to,” added Matt. “The staff do a great job and really do care. It’s hard to find training when you’re on your own and it’s hard to make community connections. I love coming here and I’ve grown so much.”

Say yes, in my backyard!

We need more compassionate businesses in our region, province, and country to hire people like Matt who want to work and who make great employees.

We also need incentives for employers that offer a supportive work environment and that are flexible to accommodating mental health needs.

Visit our website to learn more about the Yes, In My Backyard campaign. We also encourage you to share our goals with your networks using the hashtags #Yesinmybackyard and #Fundmentalhealth.

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Your donation to Coast Mental Health Foundation provides essential housing, support, and employment services for people with mental illness so they can find their meaningful place in our community – a place to live, a place to connect, and a place to work.



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