Kim Dixon, BA, MSc, CPS (F) FAMILIES Peer Specialist (&Co.) Area Manager
FAMILIES™ Pioneers New Family Peer Support Training
What is Peer Support?
Peer Support is distinct from other forms of support in that the relationship is one of equality, where a peer can offer support by virtue of a similar experience. It’s someone who has “been there, done that” and can relate to others who are now in a similar situation. If you have been struggling alone to manage mental illness and/or addiction for yourself or a loved one, a trained peer supporter can be a lifeline providing knowledge, experience, emotional, social and practical help. Above all, it’s important to know you’re not alone.
Consistent Quality of Care
FAMILIES™ has successfully led peer groups and individual supports in northern communities since 1997, and is now improving its programs by aligning all training with national standards of practice set out by Peer Support Canada (PSC).
PSC includes measurement and evaluation of Family Peer Supporters’ experience, knowledge and competencies. These encompass several skills, values and qualities including interpersonal relations, demeanor, communication, critical thinking, hope, self-management and resiliency, flexibility and adaptability, self-awareness and confidence, initiative and commitment, teamwork, and continuous learning and development.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada recognizes FAMILIES™ as an example of promising practice in engaging family caregivers
Pioneering Family Peer Support Training
In fact, the Mental Health Commission of Canada recognizes FAMILIES™ as an example of promising practice in engaging family caregivers, including Family Peer Support training free of charge for interested volunteers. Once mastered, you can go on to Peer Support Mentor training and a third level learning how to train trainers. FAMILIES™ peer supporters currently operate in one-on-one and group settings, and also help patients in some hospitals in our FAMILIES™ in Residence program. Looking ahead, FAMILIES™ is working toward eventual certification of all Family Peer Supporters and our commitment is to continue to be on the forefront of supporting all standards of best practices in quality of care for you and your loved ones. To that end we will be participating in the Peer Support Canada National Conference in Burnaby June 25 to 26 this year.