Peer Support

CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services recognizes how invaluable lived experience is in supporting and inspiring individuals who are on their journeys of wellness and recovery.  Peer Support is a powerful opportunity for a person – a Peer – living with mental health and / or substance use struggles to connect with another person – a Peer Supporter – who has experienced similar challenges and has gone through their own personal wellness journey / recovery process.  

The selectively shared lived experience of a Peer Supporter is a knowledge that can give the Peer a unique perspective on finding and maintaining wellness. When a person knows they are not alone and that someone can relate to them through the common ground of lived experience, that understanding can build an authentic and therapeutic rapport and offer a sense of empowerment and hope. 

Peer Support is a mutual relationship where the Peer and the Peer Supporter learn together, find meaning in their experiences, and explore what personal recovery and wellness looks like for each person. Peer Support is values-driven and the Peer Support Program at CMHA operates from the values set out by Peer Support Canada. 

Peer Support Canada Values 

  • Hope & Recovery
  • Empathetic and Equal Relationships
  • Self-Determination
  • Dignity, Respect, and Social Inclusion
  • Integrity, Authenticity, and Trust
  • Health & Wellness
  • Lifelong Learning & Personal Growth

Of importance, many of CMHA’s Peer Support Workers have their national Certified Peer Supporter designation through Peer Support Canada and several staff are current 2022 candidates. Many are also trained to offer WRAP – Wellness Recovery Action Planning and other specialized learning opportunities for Peers.

Peer Support at CMHA TVAMHS is offered in several of program areas. There are also several areas of specialty.

  • Crisis Services (London) – Providing one-to-one support to Peers staying at the Crisis Stabilization Space as well as to Peers accessing the Crisis Centre.
  • Hospitals – Pre/Post Discharge (London & Woodstock) – Offering one-to-one support to Peers receiving care in hospital on Adult Mental Health & Addictions Units as well as post hospital stay, supporting with community transitions.
  • Justice – Supporting Peers who are involved in the criminal justice system (London) – Offering support in both group and one-to-one formats to Peers involved with Probation or Parole.
  • Managing Self-Harm – SAFE – Self Abuse Finally Ends – Facilitating a safe space for Peers to learn together better ways to cope and understand individual the thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.
  • Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses – PEPP – (Elgin County) – Providing one-to-one support to Peers aged 14 to 35 years registered in the Program who are experiencing the effects of psychosis such as delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized thought.
  • Street Outreach (Elgin County & Oxford County) – Offering basic needs, resources, and connection with Peers experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness.
  • Substance Use & Health – Offering Harm Reduction education through workshops and groups such as Breaking Free Online Community Peer Group as well as via one-to-one support (London, Oxford County).
  • Wellness Recovery Action Plan – WRAP – Developing an individualized self management tool while learning recovery concepts, skills, and strategies in the group format.
  • Youth/Young Adult (London) – Supporting Peers aged 16-30 years with a focus on system navigation and life skills support including employment and educational pursuits.

What a CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services Peer Support Worker Does:

  • Inspire hope for the future & model what is possible
  • Empower by honouring strengths
  • Recognize & further develop resiliency
  • Explore ways to support well-being (skills, resources, opportunities)
  • Encourage a sense of personal responsibility
  • Help with voicing needs
  • Share & exchange knowledge (services, resources, experiences)
  • Assist to identify, plan & work on goals and aspirations
  • Promote self-care, self-awareness & self-esteem

What a CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Peer Support Worker Does Not Do:

  • Diagnose, use clinical terms or complete assessments
  • Judge past or current behaviour
  • Give advice or tell a peer what to do/not do
  • Provide therapy, counselling or sponsorship
  • Manage medication or provide any related advice
  • Provide transportation or ask/do any favours
  • Provide daily or weekly ongoing check-in calls
  • Fulfill social needs
  • Become a personal friend during or after service. 

The Peer Support Program understands the importance of also having unstructured, drop-in groups and spaces where informal peer-to-peer connections can be safely made, providing a sense of community and belonging. 

To request more information about the Peer Support Program and access, please complete contact us at