All posts in “Toronto”

Ontario Brain Injury Society – Peer Support Program

Group Name: Ontario Brain Injury Society – Peer Support Program

Description: OBIA’s Provincial Peer Support Program connects persons with lived experience (the Mentor) with an individual who is living with the effects of acquired brain injury who requires the support (the Partner). The program is available to survivors, family members and/or unpaid caregivers. Mentor/Partner matches are time specific and are made based on similar experiences, needs and personal interests. The program is coordinated through the local brain injury associations across Ontario, making it possible for people to be ‘matched’ province wide.

**This is a free service offered by the Ontario Brain Injury Society**

Where: Toronto Location: Brain Injury Society of Toronto | 40 St. Clair Avenue East, Suite 205, Toronto, ON M4T 1M9

When: Please call or email for more information

Contact:  Carla Thoms, OBIA Provincial Peer Support Coordinator | 1800-263-5404 ext. 227 | | 


Toronto Fibromyalgia Support Group

Group Name: Toronto Fibromyalgia Support Group
Description: We are a group of people who have managed to live with Fibromyalgia and are interested in supporting other individuals who are learning how to deal with their Fibromyalgia symptoms. Our approach is to support people with Fibromyalgia in a friendly setting as they discover how to manage their symptoms.

To date Fibromyalgia is perhaps one of the most challenging chronic pain conditions actively under investigation in the world pain community. The most recent findings provide hope for better symptom control. The cause or causes of Fibromyalgia are still not known. Most research supports the hypothesis that Fibromyalgia is the result of changes in the central nervous system (Spinal Cord and Brain).

Where: Bayview Village Loblaws, 2877 Bayview Village 2nd floor, (Sheppard Ave. and Bayview subway stop). FREE parking!

When: Our meetings are 1-3 pm the 1st Wednesday of each month from September-July.

Out of the Cold – Toronto

Below is a listing of all the Out Of The Cold sites. Click on a site name to view more details. Dixon Hall is responsible for providing resources and support services to the sites with red links.
Need Help? Call 311 to get an emergency shelter bed or call central intake directly free from any pay phone 1-877-338-3398.

Out of the Cold Site Scedule 2014-2015

Community Resource Connections of Toronto – Mental Health Support

Group Name: Community Resource Connections of Toronto – Toronto North Support Services (Access 1)

Description: CRCT operates an active web site containing information about events, news and resources. The web site also has a searchable database of mental health services, supports and resources available in Toronto. We are working to provide a comprehensive source of information which meets the needs of consumer/survivors, family members and service providers.

Access 1 provides individuals and their family members with information and support in accessing mental health case management and assertive community treatment teams in North York and Scarborough. It is an up to date source of information on individual support services provided by 14 mental health service providers in North York and Scarborough. Model of service is coordinated access system.

Where: 2-132 Railside Road | North York, ON, M3A 1A3

Contact: 416-499-5969 | 416-482-4103 | |

Peer Support: All You Could Want (And More)

If you asked me about Peer Support Groups a few years ago, I would have scoffed at the question and illustrated a scene for you with a bombastic rant: “Peer support is about people sitting on folding chairs in a dimly-lit, cigarette-smoke-filled, wood-paneled, church basement, complaining about their problems.” I would have known that this was a completely unfair caricature of what it was all about, but had anyone suggested I go to a meeting, I still would have been against the idea. Now? I would be the very first person to suggest you go… So what changed? You might have guessed: I actually went to a meeting. And a second. And a third. And continued to do so…

Meetings helped me deal with many fundamental personal problems I had, and still deal with. They gave me a new perspective on the world, and helped me fully appreciate that no matter what I was dealing with, there was someone else out there who understood completely. Basically they did what everyone told me that they would do for me: in a word, they worked.

Two weeks ago, I started volunteering with the Self Help Resource Center. One of the first tasks assigned to me was finding and reading the ever-growing body of research on the subject of Peer-Support. Even though I had already had a positive experience with groups, the research changed my perspective even more.

The first, and arguably most important item that I learned in the past two weeks was the fact that Peer Support groups aren’t just for people with substance abuse, or mental health related issues. Groups exist for anyone from cardiovascular post-op patients, to breast cancer survivors, to people living with diabetes.  In fact, in Toronto, according to Mark Freeman, Executive Director of the SHRC, Diabetes-related groups are by far the most attended.

Another interesting fact I came across in my research was that Peer Support groups can be used to significantly lessen the financial burden on the healthcare system. According the research by The University of Calgary, through ‘the promotion and maintenance of healthy behaviors’ as facilitated by the educational aspects of a support group, costs associated with hospital  re-admissions and ‘unnecessary emergency room visits’ can be lessened.

Finally, a piece of research that can apply to pretty much anyone, is the lessened number of instances of stress and ‘burnout’ experienced by members of the workforce.  According to research conducted by Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, “often the individuals who are at risk for burnout are also likely to underestimate their vulnerability”. Through randomized trial of 151 healthcare professionals who agreed to participate in the experiment, an overall decrease in “exhaustion, disengagement, depression, anxiety and quantitative demands, as well as an increase in vitality” were experienced amongst participants when compared to the control group. After only seven months following the introduction of peer support to the selected participants, a higher proportion of the intervention group (31Æ3%) experienced increased development opportunities at work, compared to the control group (11Æ3%).

Peer Support has much more to offer than you may think: it has invaluable benefits for the individual physically, mentally, financially and professionally; it also has the potential to save the healthcare system loads of money, and prevent unnecessary waste. Ultimately, what I’m trying to get at is this: Peer Support is for anybody, it’s for everybody, and there is a group out there for you. So if you have never attended a group, go out and try it. What do you have to lose?

Concerned Parents of Toronto Inc.

Group Name: Concerned Parents of Toronto Inc.

Description: As an association of concerned parents and friends, they are specifically concerned with adolescents and adults who have both an intellectual disability, and mental health needs. Their role has been to lobby government for specialized services, and to inform and support parents and friends of these adults. We have published a directory of resources for adults with dual diagnosis.

Where: Mitchell Field Community Centre 89 Church Avenue | North York, ON M2N 6C9

When: Every second Wednesday of each month from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

Contact: 416-492-1468 |

Community Resource Connections of Toronto – Wellness Group

Group Name: Community Resource Connections of Toronto – Scarborough Wellness Group

Description: CRCT operates an active web site containing information about events, news and resources. The web site also has a searchable database of mental health services, supports and resources available in Toronto. We are working to provide a comprehensive source of information which meets the needs of consumer/survivors, family members and service providers.

This is a free activity for adults in the Scarborough area who are living with mental health issues. It is a wellness-based recovery program being developed by people recovering from mental health issues. Suggested activities include: Learning and sharing about recovery through guest speakers and videos; Yoga; Nutrition and fitness; Creative Art; Music appreciation; Self Advocacy; Out and About: walking group; Peer support; And much more and your suggestions are welcome.

Where: Scarborough Village Community Centre 3600 Kingston Rd. | Toronto, ON M1M 1R9

When: Every Wednesday. Time: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Contact: 416-396-4048 |

Centre for Independent Living in Toronto – Parenting Peer Support

Group Name: Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT) – Parenting 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.

Parenting Peer Support
Peer support promotes consumer participation and allows people to obtain from, and provide, direct support to others. In the Parenting with a Disability Network (PDN), a peer is someone who has had direct or similar experiences as those shared by parents with disabilities. A peer understands and can relate to the feelings and barriers faced by people with disabilities raising families, and can share his or her personal experiences, stories, joys and frustrations. New participants welcome! This year the group has decided to remain open and invites moms, dads and prospective parents with a disability to join at any time. Meetings are held approximately every 6-8 weeks.

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 Ext. 227 | TTY: 416-599-5077 | |

Catholic Family Services of Toronto – Counselling for Men

Group Name: Catholic Family Services of Toronto – Counselling for Men

Description: Catholic Family Services of Toronto was established in 1922 and is a non-profit counselling agency. The agency is accredited by Family Service Ontario and is a member of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto. Our staff is professionally trained, skilled and knowledgeable.

They are dedicated to excellence, personalized care, and to helping people develop their potential as fully as possible. They provide extensive preventative (wellness) as well as treatment (counselling) services. Their commitment is to promote and strengthen healthy families, marriages, and individuals.

Choosing To Change
A 10-week counselling group for men who have been emotionally or physically abusive in their relationships with women and wish to change. Men attending the program must not have pre-adjudicated charges before the criminal court. ***Note: fees individually assessed.

Where: 5799 Yonge St, Suite 300 | Toronto, ON, M2M 3V3

When: Tuesdays, February 16th – April 19th, 6:30 to 8:30 PM

Contact: 416-222-0048 | |

Bisexual Women of Toronto

Group Name: Bisexual Women of Toronto

Description: Bisexual Women of Toronto (BiWoT) offers a community where bisexual women and women questioning their sexuality can share diverse perspectives on bisexual issues and experiences. They offer support, a social network, information and referrals. Friends, partners and allies are also welcome. They provide support by welcoming people into a bisexual community and creating non-judgmental spaces to share feelings, experiences and fears. They affirm different ways of developing identity and the diversity of people’s life experiences. As well, they engage in outreach, advocacy and education around bisexual and queer issues.

The meetings involve discussion on topics brought up by those in attendance, and often include:

  • relationships
  • safer sex
  • our place within the larger queer community
  • biphobia
  • coming out
  • the meaning of bisexuality
  • and more!

***In order to create a safe space, confidentiality is emphasized. Afterwards, there is an opportunity for informal social time at a nearby restaurant or bar.

Where: c/o Toronto Bisexual Network | 519 Church Street |Toronto, ON M4Y 2C9

When: The first Thursday of each month from 8:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

Contact: |

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