All posts in “peer support”

The Anne Johnston Health Station – Hispanic Seniors

div class=”grouplisting”>

Group Name: The Anne Johnston Health Station – Hispanic Seniors

Description: The Anne Johnston Health Station (AJHS) is a not-for-profit community health centre providing a wide range of programs and services that promote the health and well-being of youth, seniors and people with physical disabilities. They are a fully accessible barrier free environment. All of our programs and services are confidential and free of charge and include primary health care, disease prevention, health promotion and community development. We believe that health is a resource for life and that many things – education, housing, gender, access to health services, our sense of being included or excluded from society, employment, etc. – impact on our health. Health isn’t just about not being sick, it is about being able to make choices and live into them. It’s about having a voice in our community. They are guided by our mission, vision and values. The Anne Johnston Health Station is governed by a Board of Directors elected from our membership.

A health promotion program for Hispanic seniors from the community that promotes overall health and well-being through health education, physical activity, intellectual stimulation, community development and peer support.

Where: 2398 Yonge Street | Toronto, ON M4P 2H4

When: Wednesdays from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Contact: 416-486-8666 | www.ajhs.ca

A History of Peer Support: Part 2

 

The 1900s and early 2000s were a time period in which peer-support really ‘came of age’. With the founding of widely-recognized groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous to a mental-health revolution in the 60s to internet-based groups of the 2010s, the last century has yielded a lot of innovation, attention, and participation for the field of peer-support. In this post, I will continue from where I left off last week, to outline the most important events on the subject of Peer-Support.

In the early 1930s, a group of individuals discovered that several key-characteristics of a religious movement, known as The Oxford Group, were immensely helpful in their own personal recovery from alcoholism. The movement was based on “Four Absolutes”: ‘honesty, purity, unselfishness and love’  and emphasized ‘self-improvement by performing self-inventory, admitting wrongs, making amends, using prayer and meditation, and carrying the message to others.’

Following one of the original members’ short relapse and quick recovery in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous officially became an organization based in mutual-support and short-term and long-term goal setting.

By 1938, the founders began work on an Alcoholics Anonymous book that helped establish a framework and precise program for members to follow. Based off of their own experiences and ‘the teachings of Sam Shoemaker, William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience, and the Oxford Group’ the founders developed A.A.’s signature ‘Twelve Step Program’.

At the beginning of the next decade, A.A. groups began to spread into Canada, and continued to spread across the U.S. The tipping point of the organization was reporter, Jack Alexander’s 7,500-word article in the popular magazine The Saturday Evening Post on March 1, 1941. The article is credited by many as having put Alcoholics Anonymous ‘on the map of public consciousness and spurring a dramatic increase in Big Book sales and membership alike.’

By the late 1940s and early 1950s, the organization’s signature combination of peer-support and goal-setting began to spread internationally.

In 1965, Peer-support once again emerged largely due to the efforts of Robert Carkhoff and Charles Truax. The duo found that ‘lay councillors’, once equipped with essential knowledge and properly trained, were immensely effective at aiding people with mental-illnesses. By the late 1960s, practitioners began to develop and advocate for a new model of the health-care system in which non-professional peers helped to develop and implement programs of recovery.

In the late 1960s, and early 1970s, the former patients of mental-health institutions, much like many other marginalized groups such as the black community, the gay community, and women began to work to enact social change. At the time, new laws were coming into effect disallowing involuntary hospitalization, and increasing the standard of treatment for mental-health patients. As a result of these changes in infrastructure, many patients of mental-hospitals were released.

Following their departure from what was essentially incarceration, former patients began to meet collectively for mutual-support outside of hospitals. These individuals were disenchanted by the abusive and inhumane treatment that they had formerly received while a patient; as a result, a new movement advocating for ‘personal freedom and radical systemic change’ was born.

In congruence with much of the socio-political landscape of the time, the movement, in many ways, became militant. With this shift, new groups such as the Network Against Psychiatric Assault, Insane Liberation Front, and Mental Patient Liberation Front were founded. The groups held demonstrations, established the ‘Madness Network News’ (a method with which to communicate the latest events on the subject), practices mutual-support, and sought to increase consciousness on the subject of mental-illness amongst the public at large. The groups rallied against the following ideas: forced treatment, inhumane treatment, and the medical-model. As the alternative, the groups instead advocated for consumer/survivor initiatives, and systemic change to the mental-health system.

The 1980s and 90s proved to be a time of transition; many of the advocates that had previously rallied against the medical system looked to reintegrate, and instead change the dynamics of the field. Over the decades, legislation promoting the rights of patients and former patients began to be passed, drastically improving the civil-liberties of the community. Additionally, more and more peer-support-related organizations (such as the SHRC) were formed, gained popularity and began to be recognized with a sense of legitimacy amongst the professional medical community.

Peer-support in the last fifteen years has gone through a new age of reinvention, for instance, it is no longer a coping-mechanism used solely for mental-illness or addiction. In fact, according to SHRC Executive Director Mark Freeman, in Toronto, the groups with the highest attendance-rates are based on living with diabetes.  Furthermore, with the advent and increasing accessibility of the internet, new forms of support have begun to gain popularity. Online forums, mutual-support on platforms like Twitter and Reddit and mobile applications are just beginning to change the landscape once again to make the sharing of lived-experience-based knowledge and skills more accessible to the general population.

What do you think the future holds for peer-support? Please comment below!

 

http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/aa-timeline)

http://peersforprogress.org/pfp_idea_exchange/a-brief-history-of-peer-support-origins

http://promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/archtelpdf/history_consumer_movement.pdf

http://www.mooddisorderscanada.ca/documents/Publications/Emerging%20new%20practices%20in%20organized%20peer%20support.pdf

 

Sherbourne Health Centre – Mature Trans Sisters

Group Name: Sherbourne Health Centre – Mature Trans Sisters

Description: Like the unique mosaic at our front door, Sherbourne was shaped by our communities. As with our programs and services, when the pieces are put together, the different colours and textures form something inviting, vibrant and relevant to the people we serve. We work closely with our partners and community members. Our primary care and chronic disease management services, health promotion and education, outreach and social supports, and mental health services work together to provide transformative care and support.

Mature Trans Sisters
A social drop-in group for mature trans women to get together, talk and learn, share resources and enjoy a hot meal. The group is collectively run by participants, supported by facilitators. There is a different activity each week. Registration is required and this group is for women of all types of trans experiences who are 45+.

Where: 333 Sherbourne Street | Toronto, ON M5A 2S5

When: Tuesdays from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Contact: King 416-324-5083 | Ander 416-324-4100 Ext. 5230 | mts@sherbourne.on.ca | www.sherbourne.on.ca

Sherbourne Health Centre – B Side: Exploring Bisexuality

Group Name: Sherbourne Health Centre – B Side: Exploring Bisexuality

Description: Like the unique mosaic at our front door, Sherbourne was shaped by our communities. As with our programs and services, when the pieces are put together, the different colours and textures form something inviting, vibrant and relevant to the people we serve. We work closely with our partners and community members. Our primary care and chronic disease management services, health promotion and education, outreach and social supports, and mental health services work together to provide transformative care and support.

B Side: Exploring Bisexuality
A free ten week group for people who are exploring their attraction to more than one gender, or are struggling with what their bisexuality means to them and their lives. This group is open to everyone and registration is required.

Where: 333 Sherbourne Street | Toronto, ON M5A 2S5

When: Please call or e-mail for more information.

Contact: 416-324-4100 Ext. 5096 | bside.shc@gmail.com | www.sherbourne.on.ca

Catholic Community Services of York Region – Bridge Group for Women

Group Name: Catholic Community Services of York Region – Bridge Group for Women

Description: Catholic Community Services of York Region is a not for profit charitable, social services agency, delivering a comprehensive array of services to the whole community. We are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. We are an inclusive, multicultural organization embracing many faiths and languages. We are a registered charity and issue tax receipts for donations. CCSYR is a family services agency, accredited by both Family Service Ontario and Catholic Charities. We offer many types of counselling and group services to help people cope with personal and relationship challenges.

Bridge Group for Women: An eight session supportive group for women, led by experienced female counsellors. Topics include self-esteem, assertiveness building, dealing with anger, building stronger relationships, reducing isolation and coping constructively with transitions. This is an ongoing program and is offered three times each year. ***Registration in advance is required. Call the Intake Line or e-mail us. Child minding is sometimes available for these programs. Call to enquire or check the Schedule. Registration fee is $10.

Where: 21 Dunlop St | Richmond Hill, ON L4C 2M6

When: Wednesdays, from January 21st through March 11th, 2015. Time: 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Contact: 905-770-7040 | ccsyr@ccsyr.org | ccsyr.org

Family Guide to Mental Health Recovery

Group Name: Family Guide to Mental Health Recovery

Description: The Family Guide to Mental Health is a mental health resource designed
to help all family members, everywhere! When a mental health challenge touches a family, each family member can be impacted. Our peer-to-peer family interviews, documentaries, online forum and text information resources are designed to give family members real life guidance, insight and hope from families who have made the journey before you. View videos, learn by searching for resources and connect online by joining the family forum. Membership is free.

Where: Family Guide to Mental Health Recovery Project c/o The Mission Media Company Inc. | 59 Dupont St. Suite 1, | Toronto ON M5R 1V3

Contact: familyguidetomentalheath@gmail.com | www.familyguidetomentalhealth.com

The History of Peer-Support: Part 1

As a firm believer in peer-support, I often wonder why it is so stigmatized. It seems to be one of those things that people think can be immensely helpful for other people, but then say it’s ‘just not for me’. I think the ‘just not for me’ attitude stems from misconceptions surrounding just what peer-support is, and isn’t. But where did these misconceptions come from? Wanting to know more, I decided to look into the history of peer-support. To my surprise, it wasn’t a movement that was started in the 1960s, or even in the 1900s, at all… The earliest known examples of peer-support date back to the 1780s.

The following series of posts will summarize some of what we believe to be the most important, or simply most interesting exemplifications of peer-support over the last two and a quarter centuries.

 Arguably the first use of peer-support in an institutionalized space dates back to the 1780s with the induction of Jean Baptiste Pussin as the governor (i.e. superintendent) of the Bicêtre Hospital in Paris- the very same institution in which he had once been treated. Pussin, along with a partner, Philippe Pinel, strongly believed in the benefits of hiring staff members with lived-experience, noting that they had a tendency to be “more gentle, honest, and humane”.

Appalled by the standard of care of the day, the duo formulated a series of guidelines that would later come to be known as ‘Moral Treatment’. The practice of Moral Treatment advised, amongst other things: the infrequency with which physical restraint should be used; the idea that insanity is a curable ailment; the idea that people recover best when there is structure, routine and socialization in a family-like environment; the idea that patients are normal and rational; the idea that patients respond better to reward than they do to punishment; and that the staff should consist of amiable individuals.

 By the turn of the century, the movement of moral treatment had spread quickly to other countries throughout the west, and had amassed success rates of up to 91.3% in some institutions.

As the mental-health world began to integrate aspects of peer-support as we know it today, the concept was being further fleshed out in other sectors. Arguably the most interesting use of peer-support is the program surrounding Leslie Keeley’s ‘Double Chloride of Gold Cure’ for drug addiction, alcoholism, and ‘tobacco habit’.  What makes the program so fascinating is the fact that in many ways, Leslie Keeley was a fraud.

While touting the efficacy of his implied active ingredient, gold (which was not actually an ingredient following a near-fatal mishap with the first iteration of the cure), the success of the ‘cure’, which some speculate contained ingredients such as: alcohol, atropine, strychnia, and apomorphine likely did actually aid in the detoxification of patients. It was, however, the social-infrastructure and peer-support that was likely the cause for sustained rehabilitation.

A stay in the Keeley Institute generally consisted of the following: Upon entering the rehabilitation center, the patient, if intoxicated during admittance, would have an attendant (usually with lived-experience) assigned specifically to them for the duration of the ‘come down’. Each patient was required at a specific location four times a day for injections of the Keeley remedy. During the rest of the day, patients were permitted to socialize as they wished, with little staff supervision.

Both during, and following treatment at the facility, an elaborate set of ‘rituals’ amongst patients and former patients helped individuals pass the time and strengthen their practice of recovery. According to Emeritus Sr. Research Consultant at Chestnut Health Systems, William White, “[while] the daily injections may have served to alleviate the discomfort of withdrawal, the elaborate rituals may also have constituted a psychological sleight-of-hand, designed to keep the addict engaged while Keeley’s other admonitions —daily rest, nutrition, mutual sharing, and alternative diversions worked to improve the patient’s physical and psychological health.”

 With stronger health-related foundations firmly established, Keeley patients were also strongly encouraged to participate in the Keeley League: an institution of peer-support and shared experience for which meetings were held daily.

Upon ‘graduating’ from the rehabilitation centre, individuals were asked to deliver speeches to fellow patients and write back regularly to the institute to encourage new members. During meetings, these letters of encouragement were often read. In addition to this, club meetings often consisted of greeting new members at the local train station, and delivering religious services.

 By the 1940s, a relatively new organization called Alcoholics Anonymous was integrated into the program. The institute strongly encouraged former patients to attend A.A. meetings in their own home communities to help maintain their sobriety.

The practice of peer-support was enabled by two very distinct individuals in the 18th and 19th centuries, Jean Baptiste Pussin and Leslie Keeley. While both men were likely motivated by the idea of helping the community at large deal with situations of intense mental anguish, ironically, it is the profit-driven, and somewhat morally-questionable actions of Mr. Keeley that most helped shape the peer-support landscape into an iteration remarkably similar to what it is today.

 Sources:

http://www.sanctuaryweb.com/moral-treatment.php

 http://www.williamwhitepapers.com/pr/__books/excerpts/SlayingTheDragon_KeeleyChapter.pdf

Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)

Group Name: Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT) – Peer Support

Description: CILT is a consumer-controlled, community-based resource organization. We help people with disabilities to learn Independent Living skills and integrate into the community. (Please note: CILT is a resource agency and does not do any political, systemic or group advocacy!)
CILT operates on the philosophy of the Independent Living movement which was developed in response to traditional rehabilitation services models. CILT’s aim is to develop and implement dignified social services that empower individuals rather than create dependencies. We encourage people with disabilities to take control of their own lives by exercising their right to examine options, make choices, take risks and even make mistakes.

Peer Support
The Peer Support Program includes:

  • Diners Club
  • Peer Support Workshops and Resources
  • Opportunities for peer networking
  • Over-the-phone support
  • Volunteer Program

Where: 365 Bloor St. E., Suite 902 | Toronto, ON M4W 3L4

When: To register for the next meeting or for more details about this interactive group contact the PDN Coordinator.

Contact: 416-599-2458 | TTY: 416-599-5077 | www.cilt.ca

Centre for Independent Living in Toronto -Peel Peer Support

Group Name: Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT) – Peel Peer Support

Description: CILT is a consumer-controlled, community-based resource organization. We help people with disabilities to learn Independent Living skills and integrate into the community. (Please note: CILT is a resource agency and does not do any political, systemic or group advocacy!)
CILT operates on the philosophy of the Independent Living movement which was developed in response to traditional rehabilitation services models. CILT’s aim is to develop and implement dignified social services that empower individuals rather than create dependencies. We encourage people with disabilities to take control of their own lives by exercising their right to examine options, make choices, take risks and even make mistakes.

Peel Peer Support
CILT has been running peer support programs in Peel Region for approximately 3 years. We have built up a consumer base of approximately 175-200 members, ranging from 20 to 70 years of age. During the 3 years, the following accomplishments have been made:

  • Peel Diner’s Club and Peel Accessible Restaurant Directory
  • Peel Peer Horizons Newsletter
  • Peer Support Workshops

Where: 365 Bloor St. E., Suite 902 | Toronto, ON M4W 3L4

When: To register for the next meeting or for more details about this interactive group contact the PDN Coordinator.

Contact: Nancy 416-599-2458 Ext. 227 | TTY: 416-599-5077 | peers@cilt.ca | www.cilt.ca | www.peerpower.coolbuild.com

Positive Youth Outreach (PYO) – Youth living with HIV

Group Name: Positive Youth Outreach (PYO) – Youth living with HIV

Description: Since 1983 ACT (AIDS Committee of Toronto) has developed programs and services that respond to the changing needs of the communities it serves. ACT provides support services that empower men, women and youth living with HIV to achieve self-determination, informed decision-making, independence, and overall well-being. We do this through programs such as counselling, information provision, social support activities and programs that help people with HIV return to work.

Peer support for young people age 29 and under living with HIV. Drop-in is held from 2 – 5 pm, and discussion groups 6 – 8 pm every Thursday. Monthly workshops! To find out more, call us.

Where: 543 Yonge Street, 4th floor | Toronto ON M4Y 1Y5

Contact: PYO 416-340-8484 ext. 265 | wwww.actoronto.org | pyo@actoronto.org

Skip to toolbar