Peer Support

Peer support programs work by offering people support, encouragement, and hope that recovery is possible. Our Peer support specialists consider the wellness of the whole person and focus on health and recovery rather than illness and disability, in order to assist people in finding their own path to recovery. Working with a Peer Support Specialist entails offering and receiving help from someone who has their own lived experience with mental health challenges and is based on a shared understanding, respect and mutual empowerment.

At Ontario Shores, our Peer Support Specialists work within two distinctive programs:

Transitional Discharge Program – supporting ARP Program (YATS, PRA, ASU)

This program includes two full-time Peer Support Specialists who support their service users with their transition from the hospital to the community. This 12 week long program includes engagement with service users both in hospital prior to their discharge as well as engaging them in their new communities. This program was developed with consultation from clinicians, peers, patients, and families. It is currently available for APR service users only. The Peer Support Specialists will act in a non-clinical role and will work with the service users utilizing a “friendship model” to support them in their recovery journey. 

Some functions that the Peer Support Specialists could assist with could include: 

  • housing searches or obtaining identification,
  • navigation of the new community (closest grocery store, pharmacy, coffee shop), 
  • becoming more familiar with bus routes,
  • attending first outpatient appointments,
  • connecting to community resources,
  • assisting with life skills/social skills through role modelling,
  • assistance with creating a budget and
  • support in developing collaborative recovery goals and working towards them. 

All eligible participants must be receiving follow-up form one of the Ontario Shores outpatient programs.

Recovery College

This program includes two full-time Peer Support Specialists who work as support and guidance counsellors as well as facilitate programs within the college. The Ontario Shores Recovery College is available to all registered inpatients and outpatients to provide an opportunity for learning and discovery. Courses will provide education about mental illnesses, treatment options, wellness and ultimately discovering or rediscovering passions, hope, and meaning. The Recovery College complements professional assessment and treatment by helping people to understand their challenges and learn how to manage them better to pursue their aspirations. It is a place where "lived experience" is blended with the expertise of mental health practitioners to help participants develop meaningful goals for recovery. Focus is on hope, empowerment, possibility and connection.

If you would like to connect with a member of the peer support team, you can contact us at 905.430.4055 at the extensions provided below:

Allison Stevens - Peer Support Supervisor and Recovery College Leader - ext. 6435
John Dick - Patient Advisory Recovery Committee Coordinator - ext. 6020
James Gasparini - Peer Support Specialist - Recovery College - ext. 6791
Keith Wilen - Peer Support Specialist - Recovery College - ext. 6961
Leah Johnston - Peer Support Specialist - Transitional Discharge Program - ext. 6654