Oxford Self Help

Click here to view the Oxford Self Help May 2018 Newsletter

People helping people help themselves

In April of 2017, the Oxford Self Help Network integrated with CMHA Oxford. We look forward to making current peer support programming more robust and offer more formalized one-to-one opportunities. We will continue to recognize the value of a full spectrum of Peer Support which includes the informal model already found in our programs, groups, and drop-in services. We will also partner with others to develop best practices and create wider access to peer supports.

What is Peer Support?

Peer Support is a unique and valuable service that greatly improves the lives of individuals living with mental health needs and/or challenges related to addictions. As a non-clinical, evidenced-based approach to care, peer support is a vital link in helping someone navigate the health system, locate and access community resources, and find their personal path to wellness.

Peer Supporters assist in demonstrating hope and possibility of recovery through:

  • Empowerment and self-determination through non-judgmental listening
  • Support to work through difficult feelings and thoughts
  • Connections to other agencies, system navigation and information on community resources.
  • Support with personal issues such as shelter, housing, food, hygiene, and recreation.
  • Assistance in increasing social connections
  • Person-centered goal setting and/or problem solving
  • Support to family members who would like to understand their loved one’s experience better

You can also access this one-page summary of our Peer Support Program.  We endorse the provincial and national principles and standards of practiced established by Peer Support Canada.

Can I become a Peer Supporter?

Here are some of the qualities and skills required to be a Peer Supporter:

  • Lived experience of serious mental illness and/or addictions
  • Empathetic, approachable, patient, encouraging, and self-aware
  • In recovery and maintaining
  • Skilled communicator i.e. ability to listen actively, selectively share with a focus on wellness, not illness

The skills you bring to OSH will be complemented with our Peer Support training. Interested in becoming a Peer Volunteer? Fill out this Volunteer Application and email it to peers@nullcmhaoxford.on.ca

Transitional Discharge Model (TDM)

Major life transitions, such as moving from hospital to community, while recovering from a mental health challenge can be overwhelming. Having supportive relationships with professionals, family members/friends, and peers can reduce the symptoms of distress you may feel during your recovery. Our peer support service, called the Transitional Discharge Model, supports individuals during this delicate time. Researchers at the Lawson Health Research Institute have shown that individuals matched with Peer Supporters show improved quality of life, an increased sense of social connection, and fewer hospitalizations. Peer Supporters give Peers the courage to regain strength and resilience, and move forward in their lives.

Once matched with a volunteer, a Peer in the TDM program will meet in the community with their Peer Volunteer for a mental health promoting connection. The Peer Volunteer will listen to you and support you in your recovery. This may include assisting with problem-solving or learning a new skill, or by sharing tools and resources specific to your wishes. They are there to be a positive mentor for you. The Peer Volunteer may also link you with OSH programs that might be of interest and benefit to you. Would you like to learn more? Please contact peers@nullcmhaoxford.on.ca.

Are you interested in Peer Support?

OSH supports a range of Peer Support Volunteer opportunities. We have informal drop in programs, structured and unstructured groups, and formalized one-to-one Peer Support. As new opportunities are available, we will update this page.

To request more information or to access this program, please fill out our Intake Form and email to peers@nullcmhaoxford.on.ca.

Volunteer Opportunities as of March 2018

Peer Volunteer