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Resources to support career development clients living with a substance use disorder

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Career professionals help create positive health, social and economic outcomes for individuals, institutions and communities. Here are some resources to help you work more effectively with clients living with a substance use disorder or who are in recovery. Recognizing the bounds of the profession and referring clients to appropriate services when needed is also vital to ensuring clients receive the support they need.

Building trust, transparency and empowerment with trauma-informed career services (CareerWise) [Article]

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Principles are six evidence-based principles for trauma-informed care. Practitioners across human services can use the SAMHSA Principles to understand and implement a trauma-informed approach in their work. This article is the second in a two-part series on SAMHSA. It covers the principles of Trustworthiness and Transparency, and Empowerment, Voice and Choice.

Career development for those who experience persistent and severe mental illness (CERIC) [Blog]

This post discusses the challenges facing people who experience persistent and serious mental illness, and the importance and influence of meaningful work to support their well-being.

Community Addictions Peer Support Association (CAPSA) [Peer support]

CAPSA is a charitable organization that provides free peer-facilitate group meetings. They offer evidence-based practices and tools to help people in their journey of substance use health. The organization provides a welcoming environment to help find pathways to increased wellness, progression towards substance use health goals and optimizing safety and well-being.

Drug Rehab Services Canada [Organization]

This organization provides free, confidential professional help and resource for drug and alcohol addiction in Canada. Their goal is to help individuals get the best possible advice to live a life free from drugs and alcohol. They are not a treatment centre, but can provide referrals for individuals seeking rehab.

Mental Health First Aid Standard (Mental Health Commission of Canada) [Course]

Participants will learn about a framework for having a confident conversation about mental health with family, friends, colleagues and strangers. A portion of the course covers substance-related disorders including signs and symptoms, crisis first aid for overdose, and treatment and resources. Key outcomes of the course include:

  • Increased awareness of signs and symptoms of the most common mental health problems
  • Decreased stigma related to mental health
  • Increased confidence interacting with individuals experiencing a mental health problem or crisis
  • Increased help actually provided to individuals in crisis or experiencing a mental health problem
Mental Health First Aid – Supporting Youth (Mental Health Commission of Canada) [Course]

This course is designed for members of the public who have frequent contact with young people (ages 12 to 24) such as parents and guardians, school staff, sports coaches and youth workers. It also provides some useful information on how to assist a young person who has a history of a mental illness or longer-term mental health and/or substance use problems, as well as how to support a young person in crisis.

Mental Health in the Workplace: An Accommodation Guide for Managers and Staff (Canadian Mental Health Association) [Guide]

Geared toward employers and managers, this guide aims to help people understand how to assist a colleague with a mental health concern and appropriately accommodate them in the workplace. It outlines skills that employers and managers should have when a team member presents a mental health concern. The guide has three parts that intend to build awareness around mental health concerns and mental illnesses, teach appropriate responding skills and inform organizations on ways to collaborate with employees to make the workplace more accessible.

Language Matters (Mental Health Commission of Canada) [Brochure]

Combating stigma related to mental illness, suicide and substance use starts with how people use language — something that continuously evolves. This resource offers guidance on the use of accurate and respectful language.

Overcoming Stigma Through Language (Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction) [Primer]

Stigma is a significant barrier to wellness and good health for people who use substances. The goal of this primer is to facilitate conversations and increase awareness of the stigma surrounding people who use substances, their support networks and service providers in the community.

Practical steps to provide trauma-informed career development (CareerWise) [Article]

This is the first article in the two-part series on SAMHSA mentioned earlier. It aims to provide a snapshot of some ways career professionals can use trauma-informed principles in their client work, and why this approach can be helpful. It covers the first SAMHSA principle of safety, which the subsequent five principles rest heavily on.

Recovery101 (Well Central) [Course]

Recovery101 is designed to support people’s journey in re-defining and re-establishing their life amidst mental health challenges. Co-produced by professionals and individuals with lived experience of mental illness, this course presents relevant information and practical strategies from various perspectives. While it pertains to mental illness, this course has helpful concepts for individuals dealing with or recovering from substance use.

Understanding Stigma (CAMH) [Course]

Geared towards health-care providers or frontline clinicians, this self-directed course explains stigma and its causes, and gives participants resources to develop strategies to improve patient-provider interactions and overall care for people with mental illness including addiction.

Well-being-based career practices and interventions for preventing and treating mental illness (CERIC) [Blog]

This piece explores the need for greater compassion and a more holistic approach in government-funded programs, companies and organizations, schools, colleges and universities. Everyone, including career professionals, has a part to play in facilitating career planning, employee well-being and improved mental health.

Katrina Rozal Author
Katrina Rozal is a Communication Specialist. She has 10 years of combined experience in producing content for Canadian news media and the British non-profit sector.
Katrina Rozal Author
Katrina Rozal is a Communication Specialist. She has 10 years of combined experience in producing content for Canadian news media and the British non-profit sector.
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