The Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC) final report on peer support calls for action in four key areas to ensure peer support has a well established and secure place in the Canadian mental health and addictions system.
The report, produced for the MHCC Mental Health Peer Support Project Committee by an international team known for their work in the consumer/survivor movement, is divided into three parts. The first part describes the range of peer support activities by drawing on existing international literature and presenting Canadian perspectives from over 220 online and written submissions, as well as interviews with over 600 individuals across Canada. Information was drawn from peer supports workers, those who use peer support services and other stakeholders in the mental health sector. The section also describes the value, benefits and successes of peer support, as well as the challenges. The second section of the report makes the case for peer support by detailing the value that peer support has contributed to mainstream mental health support. The final section of the report argues that peer support be recognized as an equal, well-established and secure part of the mental health and addictions sector.
The report concludes with four sets of recommendations. The first recommendation is to develop peer support guidelines, including standards and outcome measures. Guidelines for funding are also recommended, to ensure dedicated financial support for infrastructure development including the establishment of a range of peer support activities. The third recommendation advises the development of curricula for peer support workers, which could lead to formal qualifications. Finally, the authors call on governments to take action on the recommendations in the report.
See “Making the Case for Peer Support: Report to the Mental Health Commission of Canada Mental Health Peer Support Project Committee,” September 2010, available at www.mentalhealthcommission.ca.