Mental Health Awareness Month Spotlight – employment & job support are critical to mental health recovery

By Kelsey Smith, Career Services Employment Specialist

Returning to work can be daunting for anyone who has taken time off, particularly those overwhelmed by anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges. Community Connection provides holistic support for people with mental health diagnoses including day classes, family support, substance use recovery services, healthy lifestyle support, and career building. The Career Services program helps by preparing individuals to lead a more fulfilling life by getting back out in the job field. Career Services provides participants with a team of job coaches who facilitate confidence building, designing new resumes, and give all-around job support.

Community Connection Career Services Team – a mental health program of the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County

For those who spend a good deal of their time working, it is important to consider how one’s job impacts their mental health. Being in an environment which aligns, or encourages, individual goals is a major factor in personal well-being. Do we support a family or provide healthcare to a partner? Maybe employment finances travel or a small business venture. Our reasons behind a chosen career path, or job, is personal. And all motivational purposes are valuable, plus they have the ability to shift how we view ourselves and the work we chose to do every day. The Career Services team offers a whole-person, strengths-based approach to every community member we assist. We find success in job retention when a participant is employed in their career of choice because their goals for employment are the driving force behind selecting a position that fits them.

Working has the ability to provide an individual with a structured environment where they can be successful. And workplace culture with clear expectations can make all the difference. Employees will strive to meet the expectations of their employers when they are fulfilled and happy. Plus they’ll be more likely to feel competent at using resources within and outside themselves such as time management, critical thinking, and teamwork. Therefore, employment creates the opportunity for people to see themselves as confident, collaborative, and part of the community. Bringing opportunities for people with mental health challenges to participate fully in community as workers, volunteers, and neighbors is our mission at Community Connection.

There are only so many hours in the day and spending a portion of them doing work that aligns with our goals has the capacity to significantly impact our mental health and well-being. By supporting participants’ employment goals, the Career Services team uplifts community members to feel more hopeful and encouraged about all aspects of their life which includes mental health. Finding employment that supports people in having a more fulfilling life is the goal of Career Services. And really, that can be the driving ambition of every great employment match in our community. 

Interested in learning more about the Career Services program?

Are you ready to work and need help getting started? Our Career Services staff can help you job search, build your resume, get the training you need or provide coaching for job retention.

Email our Career Services Coordinator

Sign up for the Career Services Newsletter

Visit the Community Connection webpages