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Mental Health and Addiction Peer Support Programs: What Makes Them Thrive and How do They Contribute to Recovery?

January 18 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Despite peer support being increasingly recognized as a crucial form of services for people living with mental health and/or addiction issues in Canada, there is very limited published scientific research on peer support initiatives in the country. The available studies tend to focus on a few specific programs and to highlight challenges and barriers to the integration of peer support in the mental health system.

To help address that gap, our research team, in partnership with stakeholders across Canada and more particularly in Ontario, is conducting multiple studies to document the factors involved in the success of peer support programs across the country and their benefits for service users as well as for peer supporters themselves.

In this webinar, we will present findings from in-depth interviews and focus groups with 67 service users, peer supporters, peer support program managers and clinicians working with peer supporters, from eight diverse programs identified to be thriving or promising. Framing the results from an appreciative inquiry perspective, the findings will highlight key ingredients at the individual, organizational and systemic levels that foster programs’ success and positive experiences for services users and other stakeholders.

Recommendations for programs will also be highlighted and means to use the findings to support peer support programming will be discussed.

This webinar will also present other exciting opportunities for peer support programs to contribute to developing the Canadian knowledge base on peer support by participating in another study: the Peer support and Occupational Wellbeing Research (POWeR). POWeR is a 2-year longitudinal study examining the impacts of peer support on occupational outcomes, such as wellbeing, perceived inclusion climate, work engagement and/or engagement in daily occupations (e.g., involvement in the community). This study has been designed by researchers from Wilfrid Laurier University, Université Laval and Université du Québec à Montréal, in collaboration with peer support organizations across Ontario.

We will discuss why research in this area is important and present ways for peer support programs in Ontario to become involved!

The webinar is offered by Simon Coulombe, PhD (principal investigator, Assistant Professor at Laval University; Adjunct Status at Wilfrid Laurier University) and the Thriving Together and POWeR studies’ research coordinators: Kathleen McKee and Ceilidh Harrison (MA students at Wilfrid Laurier University) and Charlie Davis (PhD student at Wilfrid Laurier University).


January 18
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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