YES Programs

Rebuilding Mental Health & Empowerment Curriculum

Youth Employment Services YES is excited to share our new mental health resource: Rebuilding Mental Health and Empowerment Curriculum. Developed to support Employment Specialists who serve young people living with mental health issues, this new curriculum propels employment and mental health supports within a post-pandemic labour market in to the future.

This package provides resources and tools for Employment Specialists who are looking to expand their programming and adapt their practices to better serve youth with mental health issues – covering critical information around the relationship between mental health and unemployment, it provides specific strategies that take youth mental health into account for succeeding at various phases of the job search, and it creates an environment to have important conversations about mental health stigma and what self-advocacy looks like in the workplace.

With 1 in 4 people experiencing some form of mental health issue at some point in their life, understanding the needs of youth who are living with mental health issues and having the tools/resources to work with them is extremely important for Employment Specialist who are currently working in the field. Outside the employment sector, mental health has quickly become one of the most pressing health concerns in Canada, with many campaigns, programs, and services being developed to support those living with mental health challenges. Within the employment sector, there are unfortunately very few resources that have been developed to specifically address the unique needs of those living with mental health issues who are trying to access employment. The issue of mental health is more pressing still in light of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a rapid survey conducted by CAMH in the April 2020, approximately half of the 622 youth surveyed across Ontario perceived that their mental health has declined since the beginning of the pandemic (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 2020). While youth unemployment experiences are not uniform, it is clear that the link between mental health and unemployment for youth requires a specialized response. For YES, the Rebuilding Mental Health and Empowerment Curriculum is that response. The curriculum translates the Lighthouse Project learnings into a comprehensive resource that aims to balance education and skill development with advocacy.

The main goals of the curriculum package are to:

  • Provide Employment Counselors with a basic understanding of mental health as well as the knowledge of how employment and the mental illness recovery process are related.
  • Provide Employment Agencies/Counselors with tips and best practices on how to create an open and supportive environment for youth living with mental health issues.
  • Provide Employment Counselors with six pre-employment workshops that have been specifically created to help prepare youth experiencing factors that impact their mental health manage anxiety and stress, learn how to strive for work-life balance, and learn strategies on how to advocate for themselves in the workplace, which are fundamental skills for all youth to have access to.

The Rebuilding Mental Health and Empowerment Curriculum is designed with a facilitated group context in mind. However, when considering the impacts of mental health on desirable youth learning experiences, it is important to consider alternative delivery formats – through one-on-one sessions, through online delivery, or even through follow-up phone calls – as alternative ways of disseminating and reinforcing information. The package can be adapted to best suit the needs of the audience. Resource: Each module has a Facilitator’s Guide, a Participant Workbook and PowerPoint Presentation:

Each module has a Facilitator’s Guide, a Participant Workbook and PowerPoint Presentation. Access the curriculum here:

Rebuilding Mental Health and Empowerment Curriculum

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