The Vancouver Mental Health & Substance Use Services Peer Support Program offers formal training to those with lived experience receiving mental health services that qualifies them to apply for paid work providing support to others living with mental health issues. The program recognizes the value of lived experience, the positive learning that comes from it and the unique position that peers are often in to inspire hope as well as share insights, strategies and knowledge of resources from the perspective of having used them.
Peer Support Workers in our Peer Support Program provide one-to-one support to others, helping them to attain goals, acquire new skills and/or link to community resources. Those receiving peer support services benefit from personalized one-to-one support from someone who is “walking the walk” of recovery. The system benefits from the opportunity for other mental health workers to work alongside people who are open about their mental illness as colleagues. This can result in system practices being better informed by lived experience and also in stigma being broken down.
Those who work as Peer Support Workers also report that the program makes a difference to them, helping them to move forward in their recovery and sometimes reframe past struggles as assets.
There are Peer Support Workers working at all Vancouver Mental Health Teams, many specialized units and some hospital sites.
Clients at sites with Peer Support can request a referral to Peer Support from their worker.
For further information, please call the Peer Support Office at: 604-708-5276.
There is also information at the Peer Support & On Our Way Recovery News blog – a blog that explores both peer support and mental health recovery in general.