Employment Peer Mentors are persons with lived experience with mental health and/or addictions issues and who are in recovery. Employment Peer Mentors (EPMs) draw from their experiential knowledge to inspire hope and empower others in similar situations, by providing social and emotional support in order to assist their peers on the path of recovery.
The goal of the program is to:
- Provide a collaborative, client-centered and person-directed program that responds to the varied and diverse needs of individuals who are experiencing mental health and/or addiction challenges.
- Provide an outreach program to meet peers in the community.
- Provide an empathetic, personalized, goal-oriented service from a person with lived experience.
- Individuals, 16 years or older, who have experienced or are experiencing mental health and/or addiction challenges.
- Individuals must be a willing participant in the program.
- Individuals must be able to set and meet vocational goals and be willing to participate in a variety of employment options that are responsive to their individual needs.
Connection with the Employment Peer Mentor Program can be made in a number of ways:
- Individuals can refer themselves by filling out a Referral Form.
- Individuals can also be referred by supports such as their family, doctors, mental health clinic, or community agencies by completing a Referral Form.
- Once a referral is received, a brief phone consultation will occur.
- A peer mentor will then call to set up an intake appointment.
The Employment Peer Mentor Program is a collaborative service that works with other STRIDE program staff, community partners, and the family and friends of those who access the program.
Services may include:
- Support to individuals who are struggling with barriers to employment which may include emotional, social, recreational or mental health needs.
- Assist individuals in accessing additional community resources and exploring community programs that fit their needs.
- Support individuals in building a support team in their community or finding social outlets to decrease isolation.
- Provide support to individuals during appointments, assistance to fill out paperwork, and attend meetings when needed.
- Assist individuals in developing a personal wellness plan and appropriate goals.
- Advocate for and assist peers in developing self-advocacy skills.
- Collaboration with all support staff, family, and support networks involved.
- Provide positive role modelling through support, guidance, mutual exchange, coaching, and the sharing of wisdom from lived experience.
The length of involvement in the Employment Peer Mentor Program will generally range from 3 – 6 months.
Employment Peer Mentors will adhere to the following values of Peer Support while interacting with individuals in the Employment Peer Mentor Program:
- Hope and Recovery
- Empathetic and equal relationships
- Health and wellness
- Dignity, respect and social inclusion
- Integrity, authenticity and trust
- Lifelong learning and personal growth