The Peer Navigator program increases inclusion, self advocacy and connection with services, for people trying to navigate the mental health and substance use systems. In essence, it helps program participants to build skills, reclaim their power and advance their recovery journey. This innovative program is a person-centered, recovery oriented program.
The program leverages the expertise (lived and developed through training) of Peer Navigators who have struggled with mental illness and addictions and who have a keen understanding of the formal and often complex support systems. Peer Navigators provide guidance while working with participants to build a collaborative navigation plan to meet the participants’ self-identified needs in areas of income assistance, legal aid, housing, and health (primary and mental health) related services.
Peer Support helps individuals with a mental illness to identify and achieve their goals as part of their recovery process. Participants of the program work with a Peer Support Worker (PSW) who has lived experience with a mental illness, is working on their own recovery journey, and thus has navigated the mental health system. Drawing on their own knowledge, understanding, and training, PSWs provide a unique and personal style of support which helps break down barriers program participants experience in connecting with their communities, accessing appropriate services, and achieving a mentally healthy lifestyle. Peer Support concretely demonstrates to program participants that hope and recovery are possible.