What Is Peer Support? Brochure

Peer Support is a structured relationship where a trained worker or volunteer, who has gone through a process of recovery, assists other people with mental health issues to identify and achieve life goals as part of their own recovery process.

Peer Supporters provide mentorship, emotional support, problem solving, goal setting, crisis risk assessment, and referrals to other community supports. Peer Supporters promote empowerment and self determination through non-judgmental listening and person-centred goal setting.

Peer Support Opportunities at MHRC

Seconded Peer Support Workers

The Mental Health Rights Coalition has a Peer Support Program where people seeking peer support can be matched one-on-one with a trained peer support worker through community organizations that have hired MHRC peer support workers. In addition to emotional support and goal setting, matched relationships may also enjoy social activities together.

If you are an organization interested in the Seconded Peer Support Program, you can contact Administrative Assitant and the Executive Director.

Drop-in Peer Support

Sometimes people don’t need ongoing Peer Support but would like to talk with a peer once in a while. You can access a trained Peer Support Worker by calling or visiting our drop-in centre. Our Peer Support Workers and Volunteers are available to talk Monday-Friday, 11am-4pm. Just ask for some Peer Support when you call or walk in and you can meet one-on-one with a Peer Supporter in a quiet room. People who visit the drop-in centre for Peer Support often want to speak to someone because they are in distress, need some problem solving, want support around symptom management, want some social interaction, or are looking for a referral to another community agency.

What Makes A Good Peer Supporter?

While the Peer Support Training teaches people specific skills that they can use when doing Peer Support, there are some natural qualities that people have that make them good Peer Supporters:

* A personal experience with a mental health and/or addiction problem
* A personal experience with a recovery process from a mental health and/or addiction problem
* Having a belief that people with serious mental health and/or addiction problems can and do recover
* A desire to help others
* Being a good listener
* Being reliable and committed

If you feel that these qualities describe you, then you might make a good Peer Supporter. Please contact that Peer Support Coordinator for more information.

Peer Support Community of Practice

There are monthly Peer Support Community of Practice meetings that are held at both MHRC and in the community. These meetings are an opportunity for peer support workers to discuss any issues or concerns; get updates regarding Peer Support and the Mental Health Rights Coalition; develop their Peer Support skills; learn about other community supports; and connect with fellow Peer Supporters.


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Becoming a Peer Support Worker

Peer Support Training

The Mental Health Rights Coalition is always looking for passionate individuals with lived experience and experience in recovery to become Peer Supporters. However, space is limited in each training session. Before starting the training sessions, anyone who is interested in becoming a Peer Supporter submit a current resume along with a cover letter explaining the reasons for wanting to take the course. About a month before training begins sucessful candidates will be contacted for an interview. Those selected for the program after the interview process will be asked to attend the training. Training is usually offered 3 hours per week for ten weeks of classroom work (alternatively 5 weeks of 6 hours) and then another 30hours of practical work in the drop in.

During training, Peer Supporters will learn about supportive listening, communication skills, problem solving, goal setting, some crisis intervention skills, special topics in mental health and addictions, and self-care. Training is interactive and participants are required to do individual, small and large group activities, as well as participate in role play scenarios. Participants in training are also required to obtain a criminal reference check, do a small research project, an oral presentation, and complete a take-home exam.

The Peer Support Coordinator will evaluate skills based on performance in training, take-home review, practicum experience, and a final interview. Participation in training does not guarantee a Peer Support Certificate. Competency evaluation as detailed above determines whether a certificate is granted.

Our training is aligned with the knowledge standards of Peer Support Accreditation and Certification Canada (PSACC). That means you should learn what you need to know to write the exam with PSACC. It is important to note that this certification is an independent process not provided by MHRC. It is meant for experienced peer support workers and not intended to immediately follow your training. You can find more information at http://psac-canada.com


Last Modified: September 2, 2016

Peer Support Job Opportunities

As we become aware of job opportunities they will be posted here. Please send postings to mhrcprograms@bellnet.ca