History, Background, and Pilot

The idea behind the Like Minds program emerged from the Consumer/Survivor Community. A work group was developed to consider an educational program for Peers in the Mental Health System. The curriculum for Like Minds was designed by the Consumer/Survivor Community, and meant to be delivered by Peer Educators.

Guiding Principles

1. Designed and delivered by peers
2. Embedded in Recovery

  • Wellness and hope
  • Real and autonomous choice
  • Anti-oppression and anti-discrimination
  • Leadership and education
  • Social Justice and advocacy

3. Inclusive

  • Like Minds acknowledges the variety of peer support opportunities that exist
  • Participants were: Volunteers and paid employees; they worked in M/S and CSI’s; they were Directors of a Board; and they were concerned citizens.

4. Emphasis on Leadership, empowerment and system change

  • Considering the philosophical differences in leadership and support – consensus oriented
  • Recognizing the risks and opportunities in leadership

5. Peer Support is distinct

Curriculum (3+1 day workshop style)

A. Knowledge and appreciation about recovery and peer support

  • Each session begins and ends with preparation for mindful participation facilitated by our First Nations educator
  • Exercises and experiences define and realize recovery as the foundation underpinning peer support
  • Presentations and discussion highlight issues of power, justice, and empowerment
  • Role and perspective of peer support – as distinct

B. Learning about and feeling comfortable doing peer support

  • Two components: a) understanding the work and b) working with peers
  • What is the role? What is the expertise in the program? What knowledge and skills are important?
  • Opportunities to learn more and practice: getting to know someone; encouraging; supporting; motivating; managing boundaries* and wellness and self-care

C. Personal preparation to do the work

  • Working in M/S teams
  • Personal organization
  • Leadership
  • Discrimination, Rights
  • Ongoing learning strategies
  • Advocacy

D. Reflection and Knowledge integration

  • 4-6 weeks after the session, participants rejoin and discuss how the program affected their work and their perspective
  • The effectiveness and impact of the program is evaluated
  • The curriculum is reviewed
  • Opportunities for system change are considered – embedding Like Minds in the larger recovery strategy emerged from this process

E. An Education Workshop to prepare Peer Educators has been developed.  For more information regarding this manual, contact: Kate.

Program expectations:

  1. Knowledge and appreciation about recovery and peer support
  2. Learning about and feeling comfortable doing peer support
  3. Personal preparation to do the work
  4. Reflection and Knowledge integration