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Stories of Recovery Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Meet Ephrem

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 Ephrem.

Meet EphremCelebrating 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 is better.”

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.

Musician volunteers
Volunteers David Wild and Sandy Falconi were part of the festivities, playing the guitar and keyboard while members of the Archway Music Group sang “Sugar, Sugar,” “I won’t give up,” “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” and “Lean on Me.” They play with the group every week.

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.”

Archie Awards cake

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:

  • Hope
  • Empowerment
  • Meaningful life-roles
  • Wellness

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, Behavioural Therapist/Consultant.

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