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Tracey, Program Director, Supportive housing, Southwestern Ontario Region

Tracey, Program Director, Supportive housing, Southwestern Ontario Region

I am the program director of a 24/7 supported group home for adults living with a psychiatric disability. We operate a PSR (Psycho-Social Rehabilitation) program aimed at assisting individuals to attain their highest level of independence for return to community living. We have Counsellors available 24 hours a day and we help them in all areas of their life, including independent living skills, illness and medication education, hygiene, nutrition, exercise, socialization and communication, and community integration.

Working in the community provides an opportunity to really get to know the clients and understand what's important to them and where they are coming from. It's nice to find out who they were growing up, before their illness, through getting to know them and their family members.

Every time someone new moves into the [supported group home] some one moves closer to recovery. They are able to reflect back when they see someone new who is still struggling and say 'well, I have come a long way'. The new person coming in may say 'oh, that guy is really in good shape, maybe I will be like that someday'. So it's the best in both ways because they are able to provide peer support to one another.

I can't think of any other job that is as rewarding as this one. Having been in many different hospital settings - long term care, psychiatric crisis and stabilization - the community is much more personalized and you can really see the difference your work makes in your community.