September 28


Manulife supports the employment of Indigenous young adults with mental health challenges

Manulife’s generous support will enable us to evaluate and strengthen our capacity to build inclusive economic opportunities for Indigenous youth through the Minds@Work initiative. This scalable program uses innovative therapeutic approaches to empower young adults living with mental illness to find and pursue their career pathway.

Minds@Work uses evidence-based techniques and psychosocial intervention practices aimed at equipping youth experiencing mental illness with the tools they need to maintain employment and properly function in the workplace. In doing so, they will gain an improved sense of belonging, invaluable social skills and connections, and resilience in the face of adversity.

​”Through our Impact Agenda, Manulife is committed to making lives better through three interconnected pillars of focus – including driving inclusive economic opportunities to create a more even playing field for all,” said Joanna Marcovici, Director, Community Investment – Canada Lead. “That’s why we’re proud to support the work Douglas Foundation is doing through the Minds@Work initiative to help give young adults from Indigenous communities a fair shot at success.”

Results from a pilot study conducted by Dr. Martin Lepage, Deputy Scientific Director of Douglas Research Centre and leading expert in Youth Mental Health and Early Intervention, suggest the method is effective.

The study showed that Minds@Work:​

  • helps participants retain employment; ​
  • allows for increased motivation and confidence; ​
  • facilitates experiences of social connection;​
  • improves cognitive abilities; ​
  • helps in the regulation of emotional behaviour.​

“The unemployment rate among people living with mental illness is high. This is why we are delighted to have Manulife’s support, which will create opportunities for young people with a strong desire to work,” says Laura Fish, president and CEO of the Douglas Foundation.

An estimated 30% of people with depression or anxiety are unemployed; for people with more severe forms of mental illness, the unemployment rate can go up to 70 to 90%.​

We are proud to collaborate with Manulife to find tangible solutions that build hope and remove many professional barriers for young adults whose lives have been affected by mental illness.