New Page Mental Health Literacy
This innovation also has a Project Page where you can read more about its latest progress.
Go to Project: New Page Mental Health Literacy.
NP Mental Health integrates social, health and literacy services to offer community level, holistic treatment for mental health clients.
About Your Organization
New Page Human Services Society
Canada, BC, Hope
Country where this solution is creating social impact
Canada, BC, Hope
Region in BC where your solution creates social impact
Coast and Mountains.
Is your organization a
Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization
How long has your organization been operating?
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Idea (you're poised to launch)
How long have you been in operation?
Operating for 1‐5 years
Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your solution addresses? Choose up to two
The Need: Describe the need for your solution and the size and characteristics of the community(ies) your solution is engaging
Hope, BC has a high rate of mental health concerns, with 8.6 mental health related suicides/homicides per every 1,000 people in Fraser Cascade, more than double BC’s average (BC Stats).
Literacy amongst mental health clients is largely overlooked and mental health workers have said “an average of 50% of their clients had literacy issues,” which they often cover up. Mental health/social workers are often the only people with opportunities to recognize literacy issues amongst clients. In Hope, professionals have no means to network with other disciplines regarding the literacy needs of clients. The community needs multi-disciplinary networks to provide holistic mental health treatment.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
NP Mental Health: a community level program that uses a cross-disciplinary approach to treating mental health issues. NP Mental Health integrates social, health and literacy services to help mental health clients improve their quality of life, health and safety; reduce the need for hospitalization; and improve their community tenure.
NP Mental Health is a three-fold program:
1. Interdisciplinary Networks—development and implementation of forums, cross-training and resources for mental health, social and literacy workers; enabling professionals to work together and treat mental health clients holistically, at a community level
2. Literacy Drop-in Centre—7 day/week literacy center where teachers/tutors assist mental health clients with literacy needs through formal and casual classes
3. Job Placement—assisting mental health literacy participants with job placement
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include the primary activities involved in your solution.
Jane is a single mom with mental health issues, struggling to get by. She wants to provide for her family and is great at working with her hands, but can’t find work because each time she tries to fill out a job application she becomes discouraged that she cannot read the questions. She’s too embarrassed to ask for help.
Jane visits her mental health case worker who leads her through a series of health and background questions, not realizing the worker was also assessing her literacy. The mental health worker tells Jane about a new literacy drop-in program for adults like her.
Hesitant, Jane stops by the centre and finds herself at a comfortable bookstore with a private learning room that feels like a living room, not a school or hospital. Jane meets Angie, the literacy teacher, who shows her around and invites Jane to stay and observe a literacy class. Jane found the class relaxing and noticed that Angie seemed to understand mental health barriers and explain things in understandable ways.
Jane decides to attend the class regularly, and eventually begins stopping by the bookstore to play Scrabble with other classmates. A year later, Jane was reading at a grade 12 level and was introduced to Steve, a social worker, who helped her find a job at a local grocery store.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others working to address the same needs as you and indicate what sets you apart from them.
New Page is the only organization providing literacy programs in Hope, BC, and does not have competitors. However, many organizations are working to address mental health and employment needs.
Partners in NP Mental Health include Free Rein Associates, Hope Community Services, Hope and Area Transition Society, Ann Davis Transition Society and Fraser Mental Health. These groups focus on social and mental health issues and
New Page is set apart from our partners in that we own/operate New Pages bookstore, allowing for a comfortable location for the literacy drop-in centre where many mental health clients already “hang out”. Additionally, we are experienced in offering literacy programs for diverse clientele including immigrants, seniors and children.
This Entry is about (Issues)
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
My “Aha!” moment came when I was researching mental health issues and realized many life skills that mental health clients struggle with parallel those of illiterate people. It dawned on me that mental health and literacy issues could easily blur together, and mental health workers may not realize a client cannot read because they misinterpret literacy issues for mental health issues.
NP Mental Health is the development of these thoughts, with the intention of offering holistic treatment for mental health clients at the community level. If a mental health client can improve their literacy it may significantly improve their quality of life so they can address their true mental health concerns.
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
To provide front-line support for mental health clients and build the bridge between mental health care and literacy. Cross-disciplinary tools for mental health, social and literacy workers, will allow the community to provide holistic treatment for mental health clients, giving them a strengthened ability to make positive lifestyle choices and build a healthier future.
NP Mental Health will:
• establish inter-disciplinary networks/resources for mental health, social and literacy workers
• create a comfortable learning environment (not associated with hospitals) for literacy clients
• give clients opportunities to develop life/employment skills
• help mental health clients integrate in the community
• reduce stigmas often disguised/blurred with literacy issues
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
NP Mental Health is currently an idea that needs funding to become a reality. However, our solution to mental health literacy and treatment has already had a positive impact in our community by opening lines of communication with partner organizations, and discovering the eagerness that professionals have to establish cross-disciplinary networks in order to better serve mental health clients in a holistic manner.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
In the first year, NP Mental Health is expected to impact over 100 people including mental health clients, mental health, social and literacy workers. Professionals will receive valuable cross-training and become part of a network that allows for holistic treatment for mental health clients.
The entire community of Hope (over 6,500 people) will also be impacted by improving overall health and well-being, and increasing the capacity for residents to build life skills that contribute to employability and healthy choices. Dependant on the success of the program, satellite sites and networks in other Fraser Cascade communities will be established over the proceeding four years.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
• risk of literacy staff becoming “councilors”/mentors will provide “councilor” outlet for clients and teach/encourage literacy staff to establish healthy boundaries with clients.
• risk of clients dropping out of program/client mentoring will encourage clients to continue through the literacy program.
• not enough jobs even when clients are ready to work/ clients may be placed in volunteer positions until paid positions are available
• risk of curriculum not being relevant to client needs/having clients involved in development of a checklist of needs will significantly reduce this risk; clients check off activities with their mental health/social worker and take it to the literacy program.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Open the doors to NP Mental Health Literacy Drop-in Centre
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Organize meeting spaces, teachers/tutors, mentors, set up focus planning groups
Create literacy assessment tools, cross-disciplinary training package, literacy curriculum, checklists for clients/staff
Prepare drop-in literacy learning room and screen/recommend clients for program
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Critically analyze first year results and effectiveness and determine continuation of/and expansion plans of program.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Establish mentors that would be helpful to mental health clients; arrange mentor-client meeting times/spaces.
Multi-disciplinary forum to discuss progress of program and further develop needed materials/research.
Review progress of participants and determine readiness and assist with volunteer or job placement.
Tell us about your partnerships
New Page has multiple partners who bring diverse strengths to NP Mental Health including: Free Rein Associates Ltd., the Ann Davis Transition Society, Hope Community Services and the Hope and Area Transition Society. We are also discussing our project idea with Fraser Mental Health.
Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your solution? If so, where and why?
NP Mental Health is a new idea, so we are not targeting other locations etc…at this time. We are seeking funding from additional sources and dependant on the success of the program, intend to expand the program throughout the Fraser Cascade Region.
What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?
Multiple operating environment factors and internal organizational factors will make NP Mental Health successful including that New Pages already runs an established bookstore that serves as the perfect location for the literacy classes. Free Rein Associates operates the SOCIA building which hosts large meeting spaces for the interdisciplinary forums and meetings. We’ve established a detailed timeline to help with internal organization and ensure tasks are delegated and completed in a timely fashion, so the program can run smoothly.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
NP Mental Health is dependent on interdisciplinary networking in order to be successful. New Pages would be happy to collaborate/network with other organizations with similar goals, and to learn and grow together.