Peer Support Research: Surveying Your Thoughts



by Seema Shah 

After 15 years, the Vancouver Mental Health & Addiction (VMHA) Peer Support Program is reviewing the past and assessing the present in order to help guide the future.

Thinking     The VMHA Peer Support Program wants to know your thoughts.


In what ways does training to become a Peer Support Worker impact a person’s life?

This is just one question the Vancouver Mental Health and Addiction (VMHA) Peer Support Worker (PSW) Training program would like to answer. To this end, a voluntary, anonymous survey is being conducted with as many PSW Training alumni as possible.


I’m a peer researcher who has been contracted by the program to help develop and conduct the survey, which is being done as a phone interview. Along with quantifiable data, we feel it is important to gather more layered, less tangible information, such as the benefits and challenges related to the PSW training experience.


Having interviewed more than 40 graduates over the past few months has been a very interesting and meaningful experience for me. It’s been wonderful to have such a great response. Thank you so much to those who have taken part in the survey.

So many of the people I’ve interviewed have been enthusiastic about doing the survey and clearly passionate about Peer Support; this, in turn, has given me even more enthusiasm for the project and made the interviewing process very enjoyable.

Feedback from those who have gone through the training is already helping the program to see the bigger picture by providing valuable local information, a deeper understanding of the program’s impact, and ideas for future directions.


If you’re a graduate of the VMHA PSW Training and have not yet done the survey, it’s not too late to have your voice heard. If you are interested in contributing but are unable to do a phone interview, we can mail you a written survey to complete instead.

Please contact me at 604-736-2033 (ext.2239) or if you would like to do the survey. The plan is for all survey data to be collected by the end of September.


Stay tuned for survey result highlights, which will be shared on this blog in the future.

It is extremely important to the VMHA Peer Support Program that the valuable feedback obtained from this study be used to effect real world change. Survey results will continue to be used to guide the future direction of the program. The potential exists for the information to be used in a variety of beneficial ways.


The program may do further research related to Peer Support in the future and we’re interested in knowing what you think. No matter what your relationship is to Peer Support, we’d love to hear your perspective and ideas.


If we have the opportunity to do more Peer Support research, what do you think our priority should be?  What questions would you like to see answered?  Please post your ideas in the comments section – we will read them!

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