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Peer support

What is peer support?

Peer support is a supportive relationship between people who have a lived experience in common, that is, the personal knowledge about mental illness gained through first-hand experience, or experience supporting a loved one, family member, or friend.1

You are not alone

Our peer support volunteers are trained through our partnership with Hope + Me – Mood Disorders Association of Ontario (MDAO). They are here to walk with you on your path to recovery, providing emotional and social support based on their own lived experience with OCD and related anxiety disorders. Recovery is possible and hope is where the journey begins.2

What our clients are saying

“Hearing about others’ experiences helps to not feel so alone. Learning about how others deal with challenges is helpful.”

“They understood my situation and provided authentic feedback.”

“The group provides good support and motivation. It makes you realize that everyone else in the group is working on similar issues.”

Peer support at the Thompson Centre

*Currently all programming is virtual

The following services are offered to clients of the Thompson Centre:

Intensive Treatment Program Support Group: This group is for people currently participating in the intensive treatment program.

Alumni Support Group: This group is for people who have completed the intensive or outpatient programs. It occurs every second and fourth Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Waitlist Support Group: This group is available to people on the waitlist for the intensive treatment program. It occurs every Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

One-on-One Peer Support: This drop-in style, one-to-one support is available to all clients of the Thompson Centre. Sessions are available on Fridays from 3 p.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Self-Determination Group: This two-hour group offers a safe and welcoming space to connect with other clients of the Thompson Centre and learn about the topic of self-determination. This group includes psychoeducation and a peer support group discussion on the role of self-determination in recovery.

What is self-determination?

  • Self-determination is the belief that we have control over our own path. It is a combination of attitudes and abilities that help individuals to set goals, and self-advocate.
  • This involves making decisions that are in our best interests and experiencing any consequences thereof.
“Peer Support is an ideal fit with a self-determination approach because people make good decisions when they are free of shame and blame. A fundamental aspect of peer support is that it provides a relationship and ongoing exchange that purposely avoids shame and blame. Within this safe and non-judgmental space peers are more likely to make positive, healthy decisions. In a peer support relationship, peers are heard and valued, and regarded as whole human beings” 3,4 (Hardaker, 2012).

What does self-determination look like in mental health treatment and recovery?

  • Making informed decision about treatment and recovery.
  • Willing to put in the work and taking accountability for our own recovery while seeking support and encouragement from our support network.
  • Engaging in self-care activities and taking actions in planning for crisis

To register for a group or one-on-one peer support, contact us at thompsonpeersupport@sunnybrook.ca or 416-480-4002.

If you are not a client of the Thompson Centre but are looking for community support, please visit the Hope + Me – MDAO website.

Additional resources:

Read the inspiring story of one of our dedicated peer support volunteers »


References

1 Adapted from: Sunderland, Kim, Mishkin, Wendy, Peer Leadership Group, Mental Health Commission of Canada. (2013). Guidelines for the Practice and Training of Peer Support. Calgary, AB: Mental Health Commission of Canada. Retrieved from: www.mentalhealthcommission.ca

2 Sunderland, Kim, Mishkin, Wendy, Peer Leadership Group, Mental Health Commission of Canada. (2013). Guidelines for the Practice and Training of Peer Support. Calgary, AB: Mental Health Commission of Canada. Retrieved from: www.mentalhealthcommission.ca

3 Hardaker, D. (2012). Self-Determination and Peer Support. www.donnahardaker.com

4 Sunderland, Kim, Mishkin, Wendy, Peer Leadership Group, Mental Health Commission of Canada. (2013). Guidelines for the Practice and Training of Peer Support. Calgary, AB: Mental Health Commission of Canada.| Retrieved from: www.mentalhealthcommission.ca