Peer Support Workers have lived experience with mental health and recovery, and are trained to provide support to other young adults experiencing mental health challenges.
What is Peer Support?
Having “been there” themselves, a Peer Support Worker 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, young adult Peer Support Workers facilitate programs, groups and activities, and support folks one-on-one. Peer Support Workers can help participants navigate the mental health system to get their needs met.
Our Peer Support Initiatives
Community Healing Project
A trauma-informed approach to community violence to help equip young adults with mental health skills. The Community Healing Project engages young people who live in or are connected with one of the communities that the project is working with.
Pathway to Peers at Mount Sinai Hospital
This partnership places a Peer Support Worker trained by Stella’s Place into the emergency department at Sinai. The Peer Support Workers are able to help from a place of understanding for young people coming into emergency in distress.
UofT Mississauga Peer Support Program
We are working with the the Student Union from University of Toronto Mississauga to develop a Peer Support Program Plan. This involves facilitating a training program for the volunteers who will provide services on campus.
Strides, Toronto Gender-Based Violence Program
At Stella’s Place, we have adapted our Peer Support Training Program to support folks with experience of Human Trafficking and Gender Based Violence to encourage trauma recovery, build hope, confidence, and resilience.
Peer & Clinical Integration
at Stella’s Place
At Stella’s Place, our Peer Support Workers are trained members of the staff. They draw from their personal experiences of mental health or substance use challenges to support others who are struggling.
Our Peer Support Workers work independently in some programs (such as our One-on-One Peer Support Program, BeanBagChat, Fitness and Yoga).
In others they also work alongside clinical staff members (such as our Dialectical Therapy Program).
Having Peer Support in a variety of forms allows folks to receive support in the way that works best for them.
“Meeting someone who has been there, who listens to you, who shows that they ‘get it’— it makes you feel a little less lonely, and a little bit more like, “OK, if someone else can manage this, then maybe there is some hope: like this life can be do-able.”
–Victoria, Young Adult Council Member
“You have to know your community—respect them and want to help them, but understand their needs. Working with people is more about listening to them, being present and not about jumping to solutions or problem solving too soon. I’m able to combine my training with my own experiences and reach others in a really personal way.”
–Abdul, Peer Mentor & Youth Worker