New Day Treatment Program Unveiled in Whitby

June 23, 2010

People recovering from mental illness now have access to specialized, recovery-oriented care in a central community location through a program formed in alliance with Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores), Durham Mental Health Services (DMHS) and United Survivors Support Centre.

New Directions, which was funded as a one-year pilot project by Ontario Shores Foundation for Mental Health, is a day program that teaches and provides support with valuable social, life and employment skills in a safe and caring environment.
“I'm happy here,” said Peter, New Directions client  “The staff are excellent.  You can just ask for help because they are very supportive.”

Peter has been a client of Ontario Shores and DMHS for more than 14 years and has participated in many community programs during that time.  He enjoys the flexibility provided by New Directions and stated that part-time, in addition to full-time opportunities, are beneficial to recovery because a full-time commitment can often be overwhelming.

New Directions offers a diverse schedule of events three days a week that includes communication and computer skills, cooking and grocery shopping support, employment preparation and a variety of creative components such as art, writing and book clubs.  Health and wellness groups are also available to provide clients with an optimal level of well-being.

“It’s an opportunity to be in the community and for our clients to have meaningful activity,” said Mark Bouwmeester, Coordinator, Housing Program, DMHS.  “The best way to maintain mental health is to have a productive day, a reason to get up in the morning.”
The program has achieved early success in terms of positive feedback and client participation.  However, its ultimate goal is to provide a one-stop-shop for everyone in the community to participate in recreation, improve math, reading, communication and social skills or receive employment preparation and training.

“We are proud to be a part of New Directions,” said Sheila Neuburger, Vice-President, Clinical Services at Ontario Shores.  “Day programs are essential to support our patients’ journeys to recovery as they progress into community living and reconnect with their independence.  New Directions has the potential to establish itself as an integral service within our community.”