Cultural Spotlight – Coast Mental Health honoured as one of B.C.’s Top Employers

Despite a challenging year for the healthcare industry, Coast Mental Health (CMH), a registered charity, was named one of BC’s Top Employers for 2021.

“We’re very excited by this announcement because it’s the first time we’ve been recognized on this prestigious list,” says Susan Hancock, senior manager for communications and community development. “It’s not every day a non-profit gets recognized alongside a number of large B.C. agencies.”

CMH, a registered charity established in 1972, advocates for and supports people living with a range of mental health challenges. The organization offers several client-focused and community-based programs to individuals with mental illness.

“When it comes to our services, the three pillars are housing, support services and education and employment, which are essential to recovery and well-being,” adds Hancock.

Over five decades, CMH has expanded to 52 facilities and 1,371 homes spread across the Lower Mainland with close to 800 part-time and full-time employees.

Working for CMH

“Many of our employees are essential front-line healthcare workers, and thanks to their commitment and dedication, we’ve been able to continue to provide exceptional client care throughout the pandemic,” says Hancock.

Mental health teams connect weekly to review client recovery plans and progress. | Photo courtesy of Coast Mental Health

CMH deeply values the contributions of their employees and is dedicated to their growth and well-being.

“We excel only because of the hard work put in by our staff, therefore CMH provides their employees numerous opportunities to grow and advance in their career through training programs, educational bursaries and regular performance check-ins,” says Hancock.

Manager of the recovery and rehabilitation program and senior manager for Timbergrove enhanced supportive housing at CMH, Veena Reddy is a testament to this fact over her 12-year career at the organization.

“CMH offered me an educational bursary 12 years ago, after which I decided to do my practicum here,” recalls Reddy. “Since then, I have worked as a casual as well as full-time employee, shifting between different roles and programs over the years.”

Similar to Reddy, many employees have taken advantage of the opportunities at CMH and taken the next step in their career.

CMH has also been recognized for offering comprehensive health and benefits plans for their employees as well as their families, which varies on their program and position. They offer flexibility around the employee’s personal and educational goals, invest in their growth through training programs and tools and strive to create a diverse and close-knit community.

“It really does feel like one big family. We take care of each other and enjoy coming together to celebrate the team,” says Hancock.

COVID-19 and seeing beyond

“The pandemic has been a test for everybody, especially since most of our staff are frontline workers,” says Hancock. “Our staff members have pushed through adversity to offer exceptional services to our clients and ensure our communities are safe.”

Despite the challenges, the CMH has been able to fine-tune their communication, improve their engagement and become more resilient as an organization. As a non-profit organization, CMH depends on fundraising and philanthropy in order to operate.

“We are grateful for the support, however, we are often limited by our resources. Due to stigma surrounding mental health, we receive less visibility and recognition than other medical services and that often affects our funding,” says Reddy.

“Despite this, we, as an organization, are extremely thankful for our employees who have done incredible work and will continue doing so as we move out of the pandemic,” adds Hancock. “We are one of B.C.’s top employers because of our staff, and this award is an opportunity for us to publicly express gratitude to them.”

Moving forward, CMH is eager to create more visibility for mental health within the healthcare industry.

To learn more about their advocacy efforts and to pledge your support, visit