About the Peer Support Drop-In Centre
The Peer Support Drop-In Centre is a peer-led wellness service. It is a space where students can meet informally with other students who have shared experience of having lived with a mental health concern/challenge. Trained Student Peer Supporters will get to know student peers in an informal way, building equal relationships based on mutual respect and trust, providing non-judgmental support and a listening ear, sharing wellness information, completing referrals, and assisting with advocacy when needed.
When you arrive at the Peer Support Drop-In Centre, you will have the opportunity to meet new people, build relationships, participate in activities or events, talk about mental health struggles and wellness (talk about your mental health journey), and work towards your wellness goals.
Who is it for?
The Peer Support Program is available to all Canadore and Nipissing students who would like support for their mental wellness and who may be looking for connection, community, and a positive and safe space to spend time with others.
How to Register?
Prior to participating in the Peer Support Drop-In Centre, you will need to complete a brief intake meeting with the Peer Support and Outreach Lead (in B210). To ensure a seamless registration, the intake can be requested in advance by completing the registration form (currently unavailable), or this can be completed when you show up at the Drop-In.
What is Peer Support? Why is it Beneficial?
Peer Support creates an environment where an individual can connect with another individual through shared lived experience. Being able to genuinely say to someone, “I hear you; you are not alone in what you are going through” provides a sense of comfort and connection. Peer Support fosters a welcoming, non-judgemental, safe space where true meaningful connections develop.
These connections are often built on a foundation involving empathy, encouragement, compassion, understanding and hope. Peer support also involves information sharing and referrals to resources, walking alongside another person while empowering them to help themselves and self-direct their own path to recovery. Peer support engages individual strengths and the approach of working “with” instead of “for” the individual to help them to achieve their wellness goals.
Peer Support allows for individuals to be able to communicate on a common ground - an environment where there is no hierarchy. This type of support compliments more traditional clinical approaches while providing a powerful recovery tool and option for individuals who may be feeling isolated or experiencing stigma. A peer support interaction can be empowering and uplifting for the person seeking support and it can also be mutually beneficial for the person providing peer support.
Being able to connect with like-minded individuals through shared lived experience allows for a sense of “togetherness,” feeling supported and listened to. The message of hope and recovery is always at the forefront of the work being done in peer support.
Peer support provides a valuable service to the Pathways to Care model that exists for students: “Studies show that accessing peer support leads to improved coping and self-management skills, improved social networks, reduced isolation, reduced symptoms, reduced substance use, shorter and fewer hospitalizations, and a reduced need for intensive services”.
Peer Support Canada Website (Sunderland, Mishkin, & MHCC Peer Leadership Group, 2013)