Having purpose is an important part of one’s day to day. But when you’ve been ill, it can be the reason behind making a recovery.
A day after her 32nd birthday, Angela Jaspan has great optimism about her 3rd decade. Her role as supervisor of a new cafe is another boost — because Angela describes her 20’s as a wash. “I was very scared a lot of the time. I was very vulnerable thinking that people could read my mind and broadcast those thoughts. And to live on a daily basis with that fear is just really tough.”
At the age of 20 Angela had no idea she was experiencing full blown psychosis. Symptoms she now realizes began in her mid-teens: “There comes a point when your symptoms become obvious. And my family was quite concerned. I was laughing in inappropriate places and times. And I guess my behaviour was odd.”
They urged her to seek help — and she did, assisted by St. Joseph’s Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program. Her first employment opportunity was in the old West 5th hospital cafeteria. When that closed, a unique opportunity unfolded in the new hospital — Colours Cafe: “When I heard that I had the opportunity to create ambiance and create a cafe for people that I’ve known well and get to see everyday, I jumped on board.”
Colours Cafe is a social enterprise operated by Rainbow’s End and David Williams: “We’re in our 3rd year now providing proper full-time and part-time opportunities for people with mental health challenges because there aren’t many other places that people can go to where they’ll be given a fair chance to do a days work.”
All employees have recovered from either mental health or addiction issues.
Williams says: “The majority of our team members come from recommendations either from St. Joe’s itself or through affiliated groups within Hamilton that are also working with mental health consumers.”
Having responsibility and purpose is an essential part of anyone’s well being…
Angela says: “We all take our job seriously. We know that this is a business. We want it to succeed. And also we want to feel self-sufficient and we want to feel that we are doing something. So it’s important to make this business work.”
Colours cafe at St. Joe’s new West Fifth Campus is one of 6 social enterprises operated by Rainbow’s End. It’s open to the public weekdays from 8 am to 9 pm. and weekends from 9 until 4.