What does “supported employment” do for CODA patients?

Read on for one of the success stories witnessed by Terry Myers, CODA Employment Specialist this year:

Terry Myers
Terry Myers

 Mark, 31, (name and info changed to respect patient confidentiality) was facing several challenging barriers to his treatment; he was homeless for three years, his health was damaged from illicit use of several substances— benzodiazepines, heroin, alcohol.

As he received medication-assisted treatment and worked with his CODA counselor, Mark often mentioned how much he wanted to find real work.  Aside from the obvious financial need to work, being unemployed made Mark feel like an outsider, a failure. It was one more thing standing in the way of his recovery.

Mark was encouraged to attend a CODA Research Division information session, which then gave him access to supported employment services. He was guided through the process of discovering how to capitalize on his natural abilities and strengths, and supported throughout successful job placement and retention.

Mark’s Counselor and Employment Specialist have continued to work together, giving him the support he needs to transform his life from homeless and hopeless, to employed and housed. The work of rebuilding his health is still a challenge, but he faces it with a much greater sense that he fits in and contributes as a working member in the larger community.

Asked what he thinks makes the services work so well, Mark says that having such reliable, personalized employment support feels like a practical part of his recovery. “It’s being encouraged to stay focused,” he says, “doing things in smaller steps…learning ways of applying, interviewing, dealing with the background issues.”