About Us

Consumer Involvement and Initiatives


“The history of the consumer movement highlights the importance of critique, collaboration, participation and continuous renegotiation of the terms on which mental health care is built.”

The Consumer Involvement and Initiatives is an umbrella program that amplifies the consumer (service user) voice within Vancouver Community Mental Health and Substance Use Services.

Consumer Involvement  includes research, representation on boards and committees, strategic development and general employment opportunities.

Consumer Initiatives are a range of services led by and for consumers providing creative opportunities to encourage individuals to explore activities that support recovery and includes  designated peer delivered services including  the Vancouver Peer Support program, the Consumer Initiative Fund,  and Peer Led Workshops.


Consumer Initiative Fund

The Consumer Initiative Fund supports projects proposed, managed and led by consumers of mental health services in Vancouver. Participation in this initiative, as committee members or project managers, enables individuals to develop leadership and business skills while providing rehabilitation and recovery opportunities for other service users.

Individuals involved in all aspects of the Consumer Initiative Fund have lived experience as recipients of mental health services.

For inquiries about the Consumer Initiative Fund, please contact sue.macdonald@vch.ca or 604 708 5244.

Peer Support Worker Program

The Peer Support Program provides an opportunity for people who have received mental health care to call upon their experience to provide relevant goal-based support to youth, adults and older adults who have serious and/or persistent mental health/substance use challenges.

Peer Support Workers are individuals with lived experience of mental illness/substance use who have graduated from a Peer Support Worker Training Program. These individuals work on a contracted basis under the supervision of Rehabilitation staff with clients who access Vancouver Mental Health and Substance Use programs and services , providing support to achieve personal goals, learn new skills, and link with community resources. The peer support relationship typically lasts until the established goals of the relationship are achieved. This varies from weeks to months.

Peer Support Worker Training is provided through Vancouver Mental Health and Substance Use and other organizations such as Coast Mental Health. Peer support workers receive classroom and practical training. Areas of learning include roles and responsibilities, communication, boundaries, strengths-based approach/psychosocial rehabilitation principles, trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing, and confidentiality.

Access to receive peer support is through referral from a staff member on the mental health team or unit where a client is receiving services. To request a peer support worker, please ask your health care provider. 

For information about becoming a Peer Support Worker and training, please call 604-708-5276 or email cynthia.chao@vch.ca. Updates on the next training session will be posted at https://www.spotlightonmentalhealth.com/peer-support-training-update/ when they are available.

Peer Facilitated Workshops

Our workshops include:

BRIDGES (Building Recovery of Individual Dreams & Goals through Education & Support)

A course was  developed by the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)


FOOTSTEPS – a variation of the BRIDGES curriculum.

PEAS (Peer Education Advocatcy & Support) – a BRIDGES Support Group.

WRAP  (Wellness Recovery Action Planning)

WRAP is an evidence based course developed by The Copeland Center.  The course are led by facilitators who have developed their own personal WRAP plan,  and have taken facilitator  training with an advanced level Copeland trainer.

WOW (Working on WRAP) – a WRAP support group.

Your Recovery Journey

YRJ was developed by the Schizophrenia Society of Canada.

Talking with Your Doctor and Other Healthcare Professionals

We are very pleased to offer ‘Talk to Your Doc’  a workshop developed by the University of British Columbia Department of Healthcare Communications.


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