Everyday problems can be confronting for people with mental health challenges. When these problems are compounded by issues of poverty and social exclusion, they can be overwhelming.

Accessing health services, filing a medical complaint, speaking with a legal aid lawyer, settling a conflict with a landlord or roommate are not easy tasks for anyone. They are especially difficult for our members. The Individual Aid and Accompaniment worker provides active listening, references to the appropriate services, and accompaniment during these tough times. The member is assisted in identifying the problem and then looking for solutions through a step-by-step action plan. The pace and the desired outcome are decided by the member; the worker is there to empower the person to face the challenge and to accompany them through to its resolve.

Member empowerment is again central in this program

When a member is unable to face the challenge ahead, compassion and concrete tools are provided to help them along. If, for example, it is just too intimidating to imagine confronting a psychiatrist regarding a diagnosis or treatment plan, then role-play may be used to practice how to achieve this and to build self-confidence at the same time. If a member is experiencing a conflict with a fellow member or staff person, they can talk it through, build strategies, and be accompanied by the worker if they so wish. The aim is to empower the member so that everyday problems are experienced not as insurmountable obstacles, but as hurdles that can be met with courage and resolve.