Sustaining and Enhancing Peer Support

A new video from Ontario, Canada features Peer Workers providing integrated Mental Health and Addiction services in a Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). In order to ensure these positions are sustained in the health care system the peer workers, peer supervisors, and the health care leaders are all engaged in ongoing communication and training.

This is one of the best videos on peer support I’ve seen yet.  At one point I had to stop the video to write down a particularly inspirational quote: “It’s not about implementing a program into the system, it’s about fostering a philosophy. It’s about taking the values of peer support of hope, and being person centered, integrity, authenticity, and life-long learning and growth — and living and breathing that. Not only in our one-to-one interactions, but in our interactions with our fellow co-workers, supervisors, executive directors and CEOs. This is the way we communicate with each other to really create a system that genuinely cares for individuals. It’s all of our system.”

I hope you’ll enjoy it and share it with others.



Click to view the video

Support for Peer Supporters

Why is support for peer supporters important?

A brief excerpt from the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, Special Edition on Peer Support (September 2016). “Peer support for the peer supporter has emerged as an important and persistent issue.” (Harrington, 2011 p. 29). Collaborative learning approaches, such as virtual communities of practice, can enhance the personal and professional development of peer support providers. Similar to the person-centered practices that enhance the recovery experience of individuals, collaborative learning enhances the experience of peer support workers as they come together to explore issues in their own work — and personal lives — and offer unique contributions to the collective learning by working together toward improving peer practices.

We look forward to your support and participation!

~Rita Cronise, VC Coordinator

Post-traumatic growth

As a peer supporter, it is inevitable that things will happen in your work with others that will open up old wounds from your past. Many of the courses in the Academy talk about the importance of self-care. In your work as a peer supporter, we urge you to be sure you have your own supporters (friends, family, peers, spiritual counselors, professionals, or others you know) – people you trust who can help you through those inevitable times of revisiting old wounds.

Resilience is a person’s ability to overcome adversity. Most of us have heard of post-traumatic stress disorder. But many of us have also experienced post-traumatic growth, which is an awareness of all that has been gained through one’s struggles with adversity.

This short video introduces resilience and post-traumatic growth.

A peer supporter’s greatest gift is the ability to share from personal experience not only the struggle, but what has been gained. That is what gives hope to others.

In your practice of self-care, be sure to include people who can support you and encourage you to recognize post-traumatic growth in yourself and others so that you can continue to give that gift to others.

Rita Cronise / VC Coordinator