What is Peer Support?
Peer Support is the process by which like-minded individuals with similar experience encourage and assist each other to continue growing. Peer support is based on the concept that those who have experienced mental illness are in the best position to pass on knowledge gained through it, and is done in an atmosphere of trust between peers. Peer Support is the foundation upon which CHANNAL runs. There are typically three forms of peer support utilized in the province:
- Naturally occurring support: occurs whenever two or more individuals with shared experiences come together and support one another. Having a friendly chat with a friend is an example of this.
- Consumers-run services: occurs whenever two or more individuals with shared experiences come together and support one another during planned sessions. CHANNAL’s weekly Peer Support Groups are an example of this.
- Intentional support: occurs whenever two or more individuals with shared experiences come together with the specific intentions of supporting one another. It operates on the intention of purposefully communicating in ways that avoid the medical model of diagnosis and starts with people’s own stories. One or all of the individuals have received some form of specific training and is often employed as a Peer Support. Intentional peer support encourages individual growth along the Recovery Journey to achieve the life we want and deserve. A scheduled meeting with a CHANNAL Regional Peer Support to discuss life goals is an example of this.