Welcome! Thanks for coming to learn about the Canadian Mental Health Association York Region and South Simcoe team.

We are team committed to our vision of mentally healthy people in a healthy society. That means we respect that our clients are the experts in their recovery journey and our role is to provide support, resources and opportunities based on their hopes and dreams. It means that we foster and encourage an entrepreneurial spirit to create, implement and sustain innovative, evidence based and transformational impact. We seek out and build partnerships, collaborate and share knowledge to be the most culturally competent team and fully integrated service delivery partner.

Our team cares for each other. We have our own team values of trust, respect, teamwork and communication. We hold ourselves accountable and we celebrate our wins. Because we risk, we learn and we take the opportunity and time to constantly improve our skills, the way we function as a team and ultimately deliver services.

We are a team committed to mental health for all. Join us and be part of providing great care in great communities!

Rebecca Shields
Chief Executive Officer

Employee Testimonials

When I first applied to CMHA York Region and South Simcoe (CMHA YR &SS), I was feeling that my career in social services might be coming to an end, because I was experiencing such high stress in the position I was in. But upon reading the advertisement for the available position as a Recreational Specialist with the Southwest ACT Team (ACTT), I felt this might be a more suitable position for me. It was also in an area of interest (social recreation related to mental health recovery). Still, I felt under-qualified and wasn't confident that I would be able to obtain the position. CMHA granted me an interview based on my experience which allowed me to speak about the strengths I could bring to the position, despite being educated in a different field in social services. CMHA YR &SS took a chance on me because of my recreation experience and allowed me the time to become more familiar with mental health and mental illness and best practice treatments. I was supported by my colleagues on a multidisciplinary team and a manager that I will always credit as my mentor. I was able to create new programs with my peers and the consumers we served in the community. I was able to witness growth and recovery among the clients that participated in the recreational programs I facilitated. As the program grew, more staff members became involved and supported both clients and the programs as needed. After spending almost two years with ACTT, my confidence in my skills grew, and I was looking for a new challenge. I had no intention of leaving CMHA, so I began to look internally for another position. I moved laterally from ACTT to Case Management. This change provided me with an entirely new perspective, as I learned about the mental health recovery model. Over my six years with CMHA YR &SS, I have been able to attend numerous trainings to continue building my clinical skills. I have had the privilege of working in a vastly diverse community that is well represented within our staffing complement. Most importantly, I have always felt very safe and supported with my own diversity. There is a level of respect that is unique here that encourages me to advocate with and for others. This trust and respect is one of the many reasons I have chosen to make my career with CMHA York Region and South Simcoe.
I began with CMHA as a student completing my second-year placement with what is now the Community Connections program. At the time, fresh-faced, enthusiastic and hopeful, I set out to change the world. Little did I know then, that in return, CMHA's staff, clients and their families would change me, for the better, of course. In 2001, two of my colleagues who are also still with CMHA today, Kim Lewis and Jenny Haggart, collaborated on a proposal and received approval to pilot two conjoined programs that were the first of their kind in York Region. The Youth Coffee Club and VENT were two programs designed to provided youth a safe social atmosphere. They offered a space where youth could share experiences with like-minded individuals who understand the issues that they live with, and where they could learn coping skills and educate themselves and each other about mental health matters. Since then CMHA has greatly expanded, which has provided me with opportunities to move internally within the organization to foster my learning, develop my skills, share expertise, participate in different programs and give back to clients and the community. Over the years, I have provided ongoing staffing support to Community Connections and have helped launch more satellite programs throughout the region. While opening one such program, the Living Room in Markham, I provided outreach at malls, schools, shelters and community centers in order to do what I really love: promote mental health awareness. I sat on The Markham Mayor's Youth Task Force, was a member of the Harm Reduction Coalition of York Region and Youth Net. I also provided outreach and support at Inn From the Cold locations and eventually came to provide employment outreach and resources to Blue Door shelters and other employment agencies throughout York Region and South Simcoe. About four years ago, I moved from Social Recreation to the Employment Program where I am working with individuals who are in different stages of their recovery. I am able to help them use evidence- based employment strategies throughout their rehabilitation journey. They, in turn, provide me with new and exciting challenges. I am also one of the lead trainers for new staff in our internal Client Record Management System which has benefited me by improving my group facilitation and leadership skills. Beyond the on-the-job learning experiences out in the community, internally the training opportunities are numerous and are probably one of my favourite things about our agency. I have had the privilege of learning about non -violent communication, motivational interviewing, emergency first aid, empowerment from a client perspective, HIV, AIDS and substance abuse, and behaviour management strategies, among many other topics. CMHA strives to ensure we, as staff, are balanced in our work and personal life, by providing us with an EAP program, monthly newsletters, mindfulness skill development, gym memberships and yoga. I value these tremendously as part of my overall health. I also benefit from the times we come together in all staff meetings, Annual General meetings, celebrations of all kinds throughout the year and numerous fund-raising (and fun-raising) events. For the first time in 2014, we were also able to share our expertise in an internal conference. Another wonderful incentive brought forward in the past year was recognition awards for staff who contribute to the overall connectedness and involvement of the agency. I was honoured to be the recipient of an award myself for “Living our Team Values,” through trust, respect, communication and teamwork. I am just one of several staff who have been with the organization for over ten years. We have seen the exciting expansion of programming, funding and cutting- edge mental health services that continue to ensure that CMHA York Region and South Simcoe provides some of the best client care and community access which I am proud to be a part of. I am also proud that we can welcome some new fresh-faced, enthusiastic individuals to share in our mission, vision and values.

Employer of Choice

I have an image of myself that I will carry for the rest of my life. It’s not what happened but how I felt. I’m standing alone in a dark empty hospital parking lot, slowly turning in circles looking up at the sky and all around for help. My life has just been turned upside down, and nothing makes sense. I know I need help, but I don’t know where or how to get it. I have no idea where to turn; even my supportive family and friends don't know how to support me with this experience. Thankfully, I was able to find help and support from CMHA York Region and South Simcoe for myself and my family, in fact, numerous times over the years. Then a significant shift happened on January 29, 2013: my first day of work at CMHA as a Peer Supporter. Thirty years after graduating high school, I was inspired by CMHA staff to return to school to work in the mental health field. Volunteering and student placement with CMHA provided work experience prior to my employment. During my first days working at CMHA, I noticed that along with the significant orientation and training that was provided, staff from all of the programs were welcoming and offered lots of support. There is a rich, supportive work environment here with a strong emphasis on client and worker safety. At CMHA, there are opportunities for advancement and channels for our passions including helping to make positive changes in our community. I was hired as a peer supporter in the Homes Plus Care Program and am now working as a Case Manager in the Housing First Program. Peer support at CMHA is recognized as a unique distinction and my personal observation is that CMHA wants to be a strong, supportive employer in this growing field. My lived experience with mental health issues is valued and respected. In my role at CMHA, I am responsible for managing my own time. I am treated as a mature professional. There are clear expectations given to me for staff and team meetings that I am responsible to attend. I am comfortable receiving personal and professional support and mentorship from many of the committed team members and coworkers in our organization. I am proud to work at CMHA and am passionate about and proud of the work we do in the community. I have the opportunity to collaborate with many community partners and be involved with the community that I live and work in. I highly recommend CMHA as an employer of choice. I know first-hand that we make a positive difference in people’s lives.
It has been nine years since I joined CMHA York Region and South Simcoe- a good time to pause and reflect on what has kept me in this workplace for so long! To begin with, every morning as I wake up to go to work, I feel good about it. This is a good indicator of job satisfaction and a good fit for me. CMHA is an equal opportunity employer with good skill and career development processes facilitated through training and mentorship. The organization identifies and recognizes talent, hard work and creativity. From kudos to promotions, there are many creative ways staff are recognized here. My organization has a diverse workforce which reflects the demographic diversity of York Region and South Simcoe. The senior management team values diversity and has prioritized cultural competency. They have set up well-defined anti-oppression, anti-harassment and client and staff safety policies. Committees are in place comprising of staff from every level to look after the quality improvement and health and safety of all stakeholders. Senior management promotes transparency and open communication with employees which has resulted in trusting relationships among senior management and front -line employees. Management also values employee opinion and pays attention to their needs. My supervisor is compassionate and provides opportunities to be creative and encourages ideas to improve work processes. My co-workers are very supportive, warm, and helpful. More importantly, they are non-judgmental, open, and share their knowledge and ideas to promote client care. Finally, this is one of a handful of organizations that believes in staff well-being and actively pursues and encourages staff to maintain work- life balance. Not only is there a corporate gym membership, but there are also groups such as yoga, walking, meditation and drumming for self-care. Wellness activities like competitive "Daily Endorphin Challenge" are aimed at staff well-being, and staff are entitled to generous vacations and alternative work schedules. Oh yes, I’m glad that I joined CMHA nine years back. I take pride in my work and know that I’ve contributed to its growth the same way that this organization has looked after mine!
I have been an employee of CMHA for nearly a decade and am proud to say that I continue to grow and develop professionally with each passing year. I feel inspired and excited to be part of a progressive organization that strives for excellence in providing service to our clients. Having recently been promoted, I am thankful that CMHA provides opportunities for growth and advancement within the agency and that my dedication and hard work is appreciated and rewarded. CMHA fosters an atmosphere of openness of communication for all employees from front-line staff to managers to directors to the CEO. There is a genuine continuous effort to improve the experience of our clients and staff. It is with great pleasure that I recommend CMHA as an employer for those seeking employment in the field of mental health.

The road goes ever on

When I first read about the position of Mental Health Educator on Charity Village, it piqued my interest. However, I was not sure what to expect as I had never heard of such a position before. “Youth Wellness? A Mental Health Educator?? TEACH STUDENTS??!!” In retrospect, this was the biggest career opportunity to seize, and I am very thankful that I did. Beyond finding happiness and fulfillment in my responsibilities as a youth educator and counsellor, CMHA York Region has provided me with training that has helped me to stay current with industry standards. Management has always encouraged me to increase my education in the field and to think also about how I could enhance my skill sets in order to explore the different positions and programs within the agency. Aside from professional development, the managers who have mentored me and my fellow colleagues have all been down-to-earth and understanding individuals. This has been the easiest workplace for me to smile, wave and converse with my colleagues. In my role of being a Mental Health Educator, I have had the great fortune of travelling far and wide across both York and South Simcoe regions to serve various communities. (Travel is something almost everyone in the agency participates in.) I have the freedom of being independent in the community while knowing I have the knowledge, experience and support to work with the many community partners, clients and families in the regions. Whenever I have felt challenged by a concern or situation, I have never felt alone. I am supported by the diverse team members who all bring together their unique specialization. Although I am on the road a lot, I am fully provided with the technology tools necessary to keep me in contact with my team and the different programs. Everyone will have a different take on their experience when working for an organization. My unique journey at CMHA is special and made up of the small and big adventures of being on the road and meeting new people all the time. I have always believed that there is a wealth of gold in any job you take. You may have to think of it in a metaphorical or abstract way, but it exists nonetheless. I still believe that there is a lot for me to learn in the Youth Wellness program and that I have a lot to give in return. It’s a relationship that started three years ago, and it still manages to surprise me time and again. As with most relationships, that is what keeps it fresh and exciting.
My journey at CMHA YR &SS has been an educational, dynamic, and exciting experience. First as a student, and then as a staff member in three different programs, I have had the opportunity to work with vibrant and energetic staff members. They are committed to meeting the needs of clients and creating an environment of hope and recovery. I have been heard and supported by management when times were tough and have come out the other side feeling even more confident and motivated to continue my work. I love this field, and working at CMHA makes it possible for me to be a part of a team that makes a difference in people’s lives every day. I’m grateful for the opportunity.
Throughout my life and especially when I decided to immigrate to Canada, I have held a strong belief that when you have a clear mind about your goals and don't let self-doubt get in the way, life conspires in your favour, almost like magic. My story with CMHA not only reinforced my belief, but surpassed everything I was expecting when I applied for my first placement with the association. My story starts at the Bridge Program for International Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals. As a psychologist from Brazil, then living for two years in Canada, I was eager to return to the field of work I had chosen from my heart. I decided to see where I could use my knowledge and experience and transfer those skills. At one point in the program, we had a workshop with the local CMHA staff. That's where I first heard in detail about their services, programs and philosophy. I was positively impressed with how they proactively embrace mental health in Canada with programs that address prevention, education and care and support people affected by mental health-related challenges. When it was time to choose a work placement for the Bridge Program, I only had CMHA in my head and my heart. An opportunity was only available in Alliston, some 100 kms away from my home, but I saw it as an opportunity in the right direction, and I took it. I was right. I had three wonderful supervisors from whom I learned so much and who created a very positive work environment. I shadowed them in visits with some clients and helped with administrative tasks. I urged them all the time for more opportunities to learn from them and do more for them. When the placement finished, I went back to my studies. A few months later, I received a call from the Aurora office, offering me a contract position in the Seniors' Case Management team, which I accepted right away. I was in that position for almost two years. The contract position became permanent, and I realized each day how blessed I was in my work, supporting my clients and connecting them with the services they needed. More recently, a new opportunity to work in Central Intake provided me with a better overview of this outstanding agency. The team I work with in this position has taught me a lot about what CMHA can offer and about our partners. Along with my belief in setting clear goals, a second belief of mine is that when you help someone, you may not know it, but you are being helped even more. There is no division between myself and other people when I fully engage with them. I sincerely feel rewarded every time I see a client having their needs addressed, living better lives and being able to manage their conditions, but that is not all; you would be surprised to see how much wisdom and life experiences they share with me as well! To summarize, working with CMHA has assured me we can build a better place for those who are afflicted by mental health challenges and, in the end, for all of us. My skills as a trained psychologist allows me to understand the dynamic behind mental health issues; but I have also learned to be more patient about the process, to work with clients and to look for help from other specialties. It takes time for clients to believe that they can improve their quality of life and use the resources and connections available, but in my work with the CMHA, I see it happen every day and that is my greatest reward. CMHA is an example of good partnership in action. I am proud of working here, and very thankful for the support I have from my colleagues, supervisors and management. We take care of each other and motivate one another to see the potential in everything we do.

Student Placements

Thank you for your interest in doing a student placement at CMHA York and South Simcoe. We are committed to providing educational opportunities that support the development of future professionals who work in the Mental Health care field. We are proud to be affiliated with colleges and universities from across the country.

We are committed to nurturing the future of tomorrow – our students. As teachers and mentors, we value the opportunity to support students in their career development by providing an interprofessional environment to help learners gain the knowledge, skill and attitudes to advance learning in professional and interprofessional care. In order to help you select the program or service you may be interested in, we encourage you to learn about our different programs and services in the Programs section of our website. Our programs offer placement opportunities for individuals enrolled in social services, nursing, social work, and occupational therapy programs.

To apply for a student placement at CMHA York and South Simcoe, please scroll below to Current Openings. You will be able to upload a copy of your resume along with the application. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email to let you know that it has been received.

We require approximately three months to arrange a placement, which allows us time to match your educational interests with the needs of our programs. If you are selected for an interview for a possible placement, you will receive an email to indicate who you will be meeting, and the program that you will be interviewed for. If you are selected to do a placement in one of our programs, we will require a Criminal Reference Check.

Please be advised that, due to the large number of students who apply for placements, we are unable to place everyone, but we greatly appreciate your interest in CMHA York and South Simcoe.

The application deadline for placements:

Winter 2017 – October, 15, 2016 – CLOSED

Applications will only be accepted through the online application system
Applicants who are selected for interviews will be notified by the 3rd week of November

Current Openings