Lift logo

Lift Program @ YWHO

YWHO is dedicated to improving the overall well-being of young people in Ontario. This includes providing social services, employment support and education opportunities.

What is the Lift Program?

Lift provides evidence-based employment and education supports to youth seeking services at hubs across Canada. The program has been co-designed through youth advisory support from the very beginning.

Four sites have been selected from each of the following organizations:

  • Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (Ontario)
  • Foundry (British Columbia)
  • ACCESS Open Minds (pan-Canadian)

At YWHO, the program is currently implemented at the following hubs:

  • Niagara Region
  • Haliburton County
  • North Simcoe
  • Central Toronto

This is the first-of-its-kind pan-Canadian integration of evidence-based employment and education support into youth mental health services.

YWHO Initiatives

What is the purpose of Lift?

The aim of the Lift Program is to strengthen current hub service offerings by implementing and evaluating the evidence-based “Individual Placement and Support” (IPS) model.

This IPS model provides personalized and optimized opportunities for employment, education and training to youth with mental health and/or substance use challenges.

In this model, an employment specialist is integrated into the mental health services team and works to help youth find and secure meaningful employment.

A few of the key principles that make IPS successful with youth include:

  • Low- or no-service barriers
  • Rapid search
  • Placing the client first and training them on the job
  • Competitive employment and/or education: This program provides work and school opportunities that are open to everyone
  • Individualized long-term support: There is no maximum length of time that the youth can receive services. The IPS team provides follow-along support as long as the youth needs, unlike other models in Canada.
  • Meaningful job search and client preferences guide decisions

The goal of this project is to ensure the sustainability of IPS as an evidence-based core program service offered across the YWHO network.

Lift: All about supporting youth recovery

The Lift Program socializes the idea that employment and education is part of youth recovery with mental illness and substance use, and that employment and education is a social determinant of health. It is very effective at helping youth get the employment or education they need to pursue their goals through meaningful engagement.

The long-term goal is establish sustainable funding in order to embed employment/education supports into every youth wellness hub in Ontario.

Youth Feedback about Lift

“The Lift Program is going well so far for me and it helps that my Employment & Education Specialist is genuinely themselves whenever we talk because it puts me at ease and helps me open up. The best part is the staff working in the program, they really make the service better.”

“The Lift Program has helped me discover what was stopping me from doing my best at school. Now with the help of the program I’m working through those issues and preparing for university.”