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Promoting Mental Health Through Family Peer Support

When a person experiences mental health challenges and addiction issues, it impacts not only their own mental health, but it also impacts those around them. So often the family is not supported on this journey. Our team at All IN Family consists of experienced family peer support workers. They all have their own lived experience and know firsthand what that looks like and are here to offer support as you walk that mental health journey with your family member. Why not see if Family Peer Support is that extra piece missing in your family’s mental health story?

Q&A about Peer Support

What is Peer Support? 

Peer Support recognizes the value of lived experience. Peer Support has a relationship and structural differences from clinical supports and self-help groups.


Is Peer Support something new? 

No, it’s been around in a formal sense for individuals in the mental health sector since the 1970s, we are just more familiar with Peer Support for adults with addictions: like Alcoholics Anonymous. Family-based peer support is gaining momentum over the last ten years.


Why Family Peer Support? 

Families are facing different life challenges. What they can get from the shared lived experience of their peers is unique. 


But isn’t clinical and medical support enough? 

Most families are not able to get the support they need, and research shows the value of Family Peer Support. They are more likely to share their thoughts and concerns with people who have gone through similar issues. Connecting with people that understand what they are going through, and have their own lived experiences, creates a safe and non-judgemental space. Working with a Family Peer Support worker encourages new ways of communicating with the individual family member who is struggling and also with the entire family.


But isn’t it just families talking to each other, how can that really help? 

Those who provide Peer Support have the training to take ‘just talking’ to a different, and significant, new level. Peer Support is validating and reduces self-stigma, which leads to long-term mental health and well-being.

 

Families can’t be responsible to fix each other. Isn’t it the job of professionals to help someone with mental health issues? 

Peer support isn’t about doing a professional’s job. Peer Supporters aren’t experts, they work with their peers to put them in the driver’s seat in their own lives by listening and supporting, maybe sharing some of their own similar experiences and how they got through it, while their peer moves through life, and choices, at their own pace.

More About Peer Support

Let's start by talking about what we mean by "recovery" and "peer support" for family members. The Mental Health Commission of Canada's guidelines for the practice and training of peer support states it well.


“Peer support is a supportive relationship between people who have lived experience in common. In this case, the experience that individuals or groups have in common is about a mental health challenge or illness. This common experience might be related to their mental health or that of a loved one.”


Please note: this definition was written with the belief that addictions and mental health were separate issues. With peer support, we learn that they come from a similar place.

Our Services

Have a look at the services that have been helping people deal with the anxiety and stress of taking care of a loved one suffering from mental health issues.

Workshops

Upcoming online workshops for family members supporting someone with mental health and/or addiction issues who want a bit more support for themselves online via Zoom.

Workshop Registration Form

Support Groups

When Talking with Others Might Just be the Additional Support You Need

Online All IN Family Peer Support Group

  • Every Wednesday of the Month

  • 7:00pm - 9:00pm CDT (8:00pm – 10:00pm Eastern Time and 5:00pm – 7:00pm Pacific Time

  • Online via Zoom

Having their own experience of supporting someone with mental health challenges or dual diagnosis, our trained facilitators support families in a safe and non-judgemental space.

 

This family peer support group is open to anyone who is supporting someone with mental health and addiction struggles. To us, family means what it is to you.

 

To Register for the All IN Family Peer Support Group:

Registration Form

Facilitated by Kirsten Drybrough and Charlotte Sytnyk 

 

Both Charlotte and Kirsten come from the perspective of family members who supported another family member struggling with mental health challenges. They both are peer support trainers and have been training both individual peer workers and family peer workers for many years. Charlotte is a certified solution-focused coach who specializes in supporting families. 

 

Peer support is rooted in the knowledge that “hope is the starting point from which a journey of recovery must begin.” Peer support workers can inspire hope and demonstrate the possibility of recovery. They are valued for their authenticity because they can relate to the challenge and have found their way to recovery.

 

Family Recovery: Definition
“The idea of recovery is approached from a slightly different perspective. The family member strives to recover from the emotional turmoil, grief, and fatigue that may result from caring for someone with a mental health challenge or illness. The family member's path to their mental wellness or recovery is likely to be enhanced by a better understanding of their loved one’s illness and through the development of more effective coping skills. Greater confidence, accepting the situation, and having hope for their loved ones will help them be more effective caregivers and supporters. While also helping them to sustain their wellbeing."

~ MHCC Guidelines for the Practice and Training of Peer Support

Family Peer Support - What You Can Expect

All Family Peer Support workers with All IN Family have completed extensive peer support training, attend ongoing training, and are part of a community of practice. Anything you attend at All IN Family has been designed with lived experience in mind and to the highest standard possible. You can expect that an All IN Family peer supporter has the training and knowledge to support you on your journey, whether through an online family peer support group, online workshop, or one-on-one. At All IN Family, we call our peer support workers “Exploration Facilitators.” Their role is to support you as you find the solutions for yourself; to facilitate your exploration of options and choices for not only you but your family as well. They may also provide examples of resources that were useful in their own family’s mental health story. These are only offerings; it is entirely up to you what you choose to do.

 

Our sessions are generally via Zoom (video conference) from the comfort of your home. We can discuss other options if you wish.

 

To connect for an introductory one-on-one peer support session to see if All IN Family is a fit for you, please reach out.

Family Peer Support

Peer support is a supportive relationship between people who have lived a common experience. In this case, the experience that individuals or groups have in common is in relation to a mental health challenge or illness. This common experience might be related to their own mental health or that of a loved one.


Family-based peer support recognizes the struggle that members in a person’s circle of support experience in relation to the mental health challenge or illness of a loved one.

Peer Support Workshops

Here is a list of all our All IN upcoming Workshops and the dates and times. Click here to book your slot.

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