On April 11 Ephrem won an award recognizing his outstanding
achievements and efforts in the recovery goal of employment or volunteer work.
“I’m really proud about receiving it, I’m happy,” says
Celebrating Ephrem’s achievements at the 1st Annual Archies
Ephrem is a client at the Archway
Clinic, an outpatient service of CAMH’s Complex Mental Illness
Program which provides
treatment programs for people who have chronic schizophrenia or related
disorders and are living in the community.
He has been going to the Archway Clinic since 2006, where he
receives therapy and attends various groups including the cooking group, the
spirituality group (and his favourite, Friday outings).
“It keeps me engaged,” he says. “It’s amazing what they do. I
can’t measure it. It’s helped me tremendously. It grounded me, and my mindset
Staff at the Archway Clinic nominated clients in the
categories of: Road to recovery, vocation, education, spiritual wellness, peer
support, healthy living and creativity.
The nominees, their friends and family, and Archway Clinic
staff attended the ceremony - which had balloons, food, and musical numbers. It
was basically a party.
We want to recognize the efforts that our clients have made
in the recovery process, says Mark Thompson, who has been a community mental
health nurse at the Archway Clinic for 14 years.
“We want to further inspire them, and get them to keep
driving ahead,” says Mark.
Of all his accomplishments, Ephrem is most proud of his job.
“I’ve been involved with the Salvation Army for about three
or four months now. I go there four hours a day, four days a week, and it’s
been very good.”
He sees it as a way to lead to a better future.
“He’s really enjoying this and he’s not getting paid for this,”
says Mark. “He’s doing it because he wants to further his way to recovery, to
hopefully get some gainful employment someday.”
“Ephrem was supposed to volunteer once a week, but he
volunteers four times a week,” says CAMH community mental health nurse Franklin
Omoruna at the ceremony. “He’s almost a full-time employee! I want to specially
recognize how far you’ve come. Even when it was rough, you stayed true.”
Everyone was a winner, and all nominees were recognized for
their hard work, cheered on by fellow clients and staff. Winners got flowers
and gift certificates.
“I’m learning that anything is possible,” says Mark. “You see
clients, and they come to us very psychotic, and they don’t know where they
are. A lot of them are homeless, they can be taking illegal drugs and living on
the streets. They can really be transformed by our program, getting on some
medication and taking part in a lot of the programs for recovery. You see a lot
of clients really flourish and start living a so-called ‘normal life’, where
they’re happy, productive, and just going ahead in society.
Ephrem’s advice for others facing similar challenges is to
take one step ahead.
“Don’t be afraid to test, because you wouldn’t know your
potential without trying,” he says. “So try … and you’ll see.”
The Archie Awards
The Archie Awards highlight the important successes that individuals have made in their recovery journeys. By focusing on
client accomplishments and personal development, the Archies promote and
celebrate the pillars of recovery:
- Meaningful life-roles
Special thanks to the Archie’s Organizing Committee:
Matthew Tsuda, Occupational Therapist/Case Manager (Co-Chair
of the Committee); Doreen Roberts, Nurse/Case Manager (Co-Chair of the
Committee); Sonja Mehrzad, Administrative Secretary ; Sarah Robinson,
Nurse/Case Manager; Jasmine Gable, Nurse/Case Manager; and Wayne Harrison,