Freedom From Addiction’s new program supports COVID-19 Frontline Workers

Freedom From Addiction, one of Canada’s leading alcohol and drug recovery homes, is launching a new program in support of the frontline workers who have sustained us all through the COVID-19 pandemic. Their new Frontline Support Program will offer half a million dollars of free addiction and mental health treatment for the next 12 months for up to 20 frontline workers.

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

Located just north of Toronto, Ontario, Freedom from Addiction is one of Canada’s leading and most innovative alcohol and drug addiction recovery homes. Freedom From Addiction is a leader in drug and alcohol addiction recovery, offering a variety of addiction treatment programs and services for youth, adults, families and employers.  For those who get accepted into Freedom’s new program, clients will receive up to 40 days of in-patient addiction recovery treatment including medical detox, as well as lifetime after-care support and access to family programs, a total estimated value of $25,000 of treatment at absolutely no cost to the frontline client. The new initiative hopes to raise awareness around concurrent disorders amongst frontline workers and highlight the barriers around treatment accessibility for addiction and mental health treatment in Ontario.

To view eligibility and apply for Freedom From Addiction’s Frontline Support program, click here

For those who suffer from concurrent disorders, time is of the essence for the individual as well as their loved ones. But unfortunately, waiting lists for provincially funded beds within the rehabilitation space are as long as 6 months to 1 year. For frontline workers in need, these wait times only deepen the severity of their mental health and addiction issues which is why many decide to self medicate in the meantime, and sometimes avoid treatment entirely.

In addition to lack of access within provincially funded treatment programs, perceived stigma prevents many, especially amongst first responders to receive help. In addition to that, many suffer from concurrent disorders such as depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well as substance addictions —  complex dual disorders that many treatment centres are not equipped to handle. Topping things off, many private health coverage packages do not always cover addiction centre treatments. If they do, there are only a few addiction centres that have government funded beds all of which have extensive waiting lists. Additionally, clients should have a choice in what treatment centre they want to attend. In response to these barriers, Freedom From Addiction hopes to provide some relief to frontliners who are in need of treatment, especially those without coverage, so they can receive the attention they need to achieve sobriety.

“It’s no secret within the rehabilitation community that many frontline workers suffer from mental health issues and concurrent addictions, especially amongst first responders. Due to the nature of their job plus the stress of having to work through a pandemic, we understand that suffering from these issues can be very debilitating and even harder to seek help for it,” says Mandy Sandu, Executive Vice President of Freedom From Addiction. “The perceived stigma, lack of coverage and long wait times prevent many frontline workers from getting help. Through our new Frontline Support Program we hope to raise awareness around these issues and most importantly provide much needed treatment to frontline workers who need it most.  Many of our family members are Frontline Workers as well that have been affected by the Pandemic so to help someone in need that truly deserves a second chance at life is one of the reasons we implemented this program. They’ve been there for us and we want to be there for them.” 

Workers who have continued to perform duties in an essential service as defined by the Government of Canada during the COVID-19 Pandemic are eligible for Freedom’s Frontline Support program. This includes frontline workers in the following who work within industries including Safety, Water, Food, Health and more. To learn more about who qualifies as an essential worker, please visit Public Safety Canada. For those who are interested in enrolling in the program, they need to provide proof of employment in a frontline job as well as submit a letter of intent, explaining why they should be considered for the program.

In addition to helping over 3000 clients through their world-class addiction and mental health programs, Freedom From Addiction has always been passionate about raising awareness to issues faced by those within the rehabilitation community, specifically the lack of access to treatment. Earlier this year, the clinic spearheaded a local campaign driving awareness for accessible and rapid COVID-19 testing for essential workers in the health and addiction space. For this campaign, they wrote a letter sent to Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliot, urging the government to provide quick access to proper testing and PPE for health and addiction centres.  They also started a Change.org petition to garner further support on the cause, which received over 900 signatures.

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Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Addicted Magazine. Her myriad of addictions include music, fashion, travel, technology, boxing and trying to make the world a better place. Nadia is also a feminist, an animal lover, and a neverending dreamer. Keep up with her on social media through @thenadiae.
Nadia Elkharadly