Supportive Employment Program at Harmony House

Although people living with Serious Mental Health issues are often under-employed, many report that they want to work and have the skills, motivation, and abilities to do so. About 70% of adults with mental illness would like to find a job. According to a survey, about 60% of these will be successful when employed via Supportive Employment services. Social Services consumers and their families consistently point out that finding and keeping employment is a chief and on-going concern.

What is Supportive Employment?

The Supportive Employment Program (SEP) helps our members (and non-members) obtain a working position in the community while providing the supports that help bring  success. We assist you in finding work that takes place in integrative  surroundings and pays competitively compared to other positions.

We take a look at your personal strengths and try to find out together what it is that you want to achieve. In this way we are seeking to  discover the right position; one that fits you, rather than retraining you to fit the position. We feel like anyone living with mental illness will be able to succeed in the job market when we find the right position in the right environment.

Other recruiters will be concerned with your vocational rehabilitation assessments and spend a lot of time and energy on tests and pre-screening activities. We don’t throw a lot of tests at you and are not interested in forcing you into pre-employment training modalities. Our focus is on getting you into a job with the emphasis on good fit and well-matched environment. We’ll proceed at your pace, not some artificial quota thought up by a manager somewhere else.

Who Benefits from SEP?

Persons living with serious mental illness are like anybody else in the fact that everybody has different preferences about where we would like to work, how much we feel we can do, and what degree of support we need to accomplish our goals. A working position with SEP will respect your dignity by recognizing  personal differences and work with you to customize your vocational services.

Other job services and recruiters are pushed to rush more and more clients through the mill and don’t really care how it works out after you get the interview. Here is where our Supportive Employment Program is really different. We understand that mental health issues might call for support after you get the job, even long-term support. We don’t weigh you down with unrealistic expectations and time limits. We are there if you need us. Naturally, we want to help you become self reliant and be as independent as you feel comfortable with, as well.

Everyone wants to be a member of the community and to feel like we are making a contribution. As you begin to have success at the job, your self-image gets better. You feel better about yourself and your family and friends notice. After a while, everybody benefits. In addition, folks out in the community see you working, taking on more responsibility and they get a better perspective and begin to hold mental illness in a more positive light. This helps to diminish stigma and increase dignity and self-worth. So all around, everybody from your friends and family to members of the local community receive benefits from SEP; in fact, the business person who hires you benefits, and of course, you do too!

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