Portage was invited to give a presentation on its services at Bell headquarters on Wednesday October 3, 2018 as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week. Entitled Taking back control: overcoming mental illness and addiction, the presentation focused on Portage’s MICA (mentally ill chemical abusers) program for men and its new program for women.
Antonio Maturo, Director of the MICA programs for men and women, explained how the programs help individuals suffering from both mental illness and substance abuse. With the legalization of cannabis fast approaching at the time of the presentation, Bell wanted to provide employees with information on mental illness and addiction, focusing on cannabis, which can act as a trigger for mental illness.
The first resident of the new MICA program for women, which started last June, was also at the event to talk about her journey prior to entering Portage and her experience at the residential centre. “Every day at Portage, several groups meet to discuss subjects such as family relationships, relapse prevention and mental illness. Together, we explore personal topics in order to move forward at our own pace and engage in further reflection. What I discovered at Portage is a lot of love. The counsellors have such a heartfelt dedication to their role that I feel like I’ve found a new family.”
A member of the MICA program for men, now a resident of Portage’s supervised apartments, was also on hand at the event to talk about the support he is getting through Portage’s aftercare program. The supervised apartments help residents who have completed their therapy prepare to reintegrate into society with the aid of counsellors.
Portage established its residential program geared specifically to substance-dependant adults who also suffer from mental illness in 1995. The program is based on the therapeutic community model and tailored to the needs of the MICA centre’s clientele. The MICA program for adults seeks to promote a better understanding of mental illness, the eradication of drug and alcohol abuse, the development of social skills and reintegration into society. It is the only program of its kind in Québec and was developed in cooperation with Montreal hospitals . Last June, the MICA program for women was launched and the first female residents started their therapy. The new program focuses on interpersonal relations, self-confidence, sexual education and a better understanding of mental illness and mood-related symptoms (depression and anxiety). The women who comprise this clientele have often been victims of violence and abuse.
Portage would like to thank Ms. Maryline Soucy, Workplace Health Advisor at Bell, for the invitation to talk about our services. We would also like to thank Bell for its outstanding contribution to the establishment of the MICA program for women through its Let’s Talk initiative. This initiative ties in closely with Portage’s and Bell’s unwavering support over more than 25 years deserves mention.