Peer SupportWhat is Peer Support?
“Navigating mental health challenges can often feel isolating. Stella’s Place peer support model says: ‘Hey, you’re not alone and you don’t have to figure this out by yourself.’ Integrating peers with lived experience in the delivery of our services makes recovery more effective, and the journey a little less lonely. That’s why I believe peer support is shaping the future of mental health care.”
– Rae, Peer Supporter
Peer supporters, have lived experience with mental health and recovery, and are trained to provide safe and effective support to other young adults experiencing mental health challenges. Having “been there” themselves, a peer supporter can listen and respond from a place of true understanding. Being in a different place in their recovery process, they can communicate hope and optimism. The values of respect, choice and mutual sharing form the basis of the relationship.
At Stella’s Place, trained young adult peers facilitate programs, groups and activities, and support folks one on one in person, and online. Peer supporters can navigate the mental health system to get participants’ needs met.
WRAP and The Community Healing Project are two examples of programs we offer.
WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) is a group program that combines peer support with recovery education and action planning. The approach was developed in the by Mary Ellen Copeland in 1997, and has been a popular and impactful process for many people with lived experience. Stella’s Place has many community members who have benefitted from WRAP and who are now trained WRAP facilitators. WRAP group members learn about the key concepts of recovery, including hope, self-determination, education, self-advocacy, personal responsibility and giving and receiving support. Tools, strategies and resources are shared to develop a sense of group. One common experience of folks, is the feeling of having been let down by the mental health system. In group we avoid clinical language and focus on validating the strength it takes to participate in vulnerable conversations about healing. .
With guidance from peer facilitators and fellow group members, participants learn how to compile a personal WRAP Plan, which includes:
- Wellness tools and daily maintenance list
- Triggers & action plan
- Early warning signs & action plan
- When things are breaking down & action plan
- Crisis plan
- Post-crisis plan
For more information about WRAP, click here.
The Community Healing Project is a City of Toronto initiative (funded through Public Safety Canada) which takes a trauma-informed and peer-led approach to addressing the intersections between mental health and community-based violence. The project engages young people ages 18-29 (Healers) who live in, work in, or are connected with one of the communities that the project is working with. The project works with communities that have experienced elevated incidents of community-based violence (often Neighbourhood Improvement Areas) and are identified through the collaboration of partnering community agencies and the City of Toronto. Healers are trained in Peer Support so that they can deliver a 12-week workshop series to young people in the identified communities. Stella’s Place is providing the Peer Support Training for this initiative. The criteria to apply is:
- Self-identified lived experiences of community-based violence
- Currently age 18-29
- Live in, work in, or connected to one of the identified communities
If you are interested, you can email [email protected] for more information.
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