Please allow me the opportunity to introduce you to the Mood Disorders Society of Canada and our Peer Support Services advisors.
As you know, there is no substitute for being among people who are going through the same things as you are.
According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada in their most recent publication, “Guidelines for the Practice Training of Peer Support”, a peer can offer an employee a unique kind of support versus that offered by a more formal mental health, medical and social services approach.
In response to the need for peer support, The Mood Disorders Society of Canada has developed a team of advisors, with years of lived experience as both formal and informal peers to share their knowledge and experience in the selection, training and management of peer groups.
With guidance and advice from the Special Advisors on Peer Support Services for the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, many organizations can meet their needs for peer selection, training and group support.
As part of the development of peer groups they can also assist organizations address the building of resilience for trauma and the de-stigmatization of mental illness and also develop techniques for your management of both formal and informal peer groups.
Our advisors can offer your organization two options in how to approach these objectives:
1. They can work with your local professional resources, either internally or externally or both, who can then take the lead,
2. Or they can work as the stand-alone team to help lead your organization.
Also, it is important to note that each organization and community has their own dynamics and history, so custom work is required to develop the peer teams to meet organizational or community needs.
Our specific area of expertise is in the development of peer support services, which involves three basic steps.
1. Selection of Peers using a four step process:
• Identification of peers who agree to participate as nominated by peers
• Peer Interview to validate suitability
• Psychological testing and interview, to ensure wellness to preform peer support and that they are in a positive growth stage in their lived experience. (This can either be provided by a local psychologist or the use of our own MDSC Peer Support Team Psychologist)
• Meeting the organizational needs, taking into account where they live, where they work and their lived experience.
2. Training of Peers using the Mood Disorders Society of Canada 2 –Day Peer Support Training program.
The curriculum that we use was formatted based on the, “Guidelines for the Practice and Training of Peer Support” first published by the Mental Health Commission in February, 2014, and the product of tried and true processes that can be adjusted to meet your organizational needs and has been reviewed and approved by the MDSC Board of Directors and Peer Support Services Advisors.
3. The Development of Peer Teams. It is also well known that no one model of peer support will do all that can be required within an organization. Formal groups, with rules and guidelines, can include informal groups that can be built within the formal structure. Both formal group peers and informal group peers follow the same guidelines and rules and are both managed by the formal peer group manager, though it is more unstructured for the informal group. The only difference would be that those peers who are recognized as part of the informal group would be called upon to respond ad hoc, to the needs of a member who is refusing to accept the support of the formal group.
We also provide advice and services in the management of and training in:
4. Developing awareness and resilience to trauma workshops for members and their families
5. De-stigmatization of Mental Illness
6. Family Awareness and Information Events
7. Assisting your organization to effectively assess and address the 13 psychosocial factors to develop comprehensive strategies for ensuring a psychologically safe workplace using the Guarding Minds @ Work tool regardless of how large or small, or whether in the public or private sector.
We look forward to working with you further. Should you have any further questions please feel free to contact us.
Our team of both formal and informal peers are ready to share knowledge & experience in the selection, training & management of peer groups.
MDSC Peer & Trauma Support Systems is a team who have years of lived experience as both formal and informal peers & are ready to share their knowledge and experience in the selection, training and management of peer groups.
With guidance and advice from our team organizations can meet the need for peer selection, training and group support.