VANCOUVER – (October 20, 2023): The Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division (CMHA BC) is excited to announce a significant milestone in its ongoing commitment to improving the working conditions and support for peers in the British Columbia mental health and substance use sector. Through extensive research efforts, CMHA BC has developed four vital resources aimed at fostering equitable compensation, opportunities, and support for peers.
“I had the incredible opportunity to work with people, peers and non-peers, who share the same vision as I do for a more equitable future for peer workers who are often unsung in their dedication and commitment,” said Kat Golik, Peer Researcher at CMHA BC. “I am hopeful that this project can set in motion systemic change that not only empowers peers like myself but also opens doors for more peers to have a voice in mental health and substance use policy in BC.”
The four invaluable resources now available to the public are:
- Experience is Expertise – Peer Employment Report: This comprehensive report presents findings and recommendations drawn from the research, offering insights into the unique challenges and opportunities within the peer employment landscape.
- Literature Review: A thorough review of existing literature on peer employment in mental health and substance use, providing an in-depth understanding of the context and issues involved.
- Power Assessment Framework: A practical tool designed for employers and peers to examine power dynamics and assess peer working conditions, ensuring a fair and supportive work environment.
- Employer Checklist: An essential resource for employers in the mental health and substance use sector, offering guidance on improving peer employment conditions and fostering an inclusive workplace.
These resources were developed as part of a project funded by the Vancouver Foundation and is part of CMHA BC’s commitment to co-production, ensuring that peers in the mental health and substance use sector receive equal compensation, opportunities, and the support they need and deserve. Peers bring unique, unparalleled expertise to their roles based on their personal lived and living experiences with mental health and/or substance use, making them an invaluable asset to their organizations.
“Through their lived and living experience, peer support workers contribute immensely to mental health and addictions services,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “They play a vital role in reducing the stigma that keeps many people from reaching out for help and help to remove barriers that can lead to people suffering alone. Recognizing and valuing the work of peers is critical to providing mental health and addictions care that meets the needs of people across our province.”
“Co-production is essential to ensure peers in the BC mental health and substance use sector are provided equal compensation, opportunities, and support from their employers,” said Jonny Morris, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division. “Peers bring unmatched knowledge to their roles through their personal lived and living experience with mental health and/or substance use — experience that provides a unique and unmatched skillset. We hope these resources help provide insights and recommendations that will lead to improved outcomes for peers in BC.”
Please visit CMHA BC’s Peer Employment website for more information, including access to all resources and recommendations.
Register for the upcoming Peer Employment Info Session, taking place November 2 at 1:00 p.m. PST to learn about the overall research project, key findings, and recommendations.
About CMHA BC:
The Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division, is part of a national organization that promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness. CMHA BC accomplishes this mission through advocacy, education, research, and service.
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