Peer Support: A Lighthouse of Caring Friends

Maps and charts are great, but when planning a journey – or feeling lost on one – it's better to talk to someone who has been there, done that. Peer supporters are living, breathing proof that recovery is achievable. They can help you navigate the journey to wellness by shedding light on the rocky parts.

The people have spoken: "more peer support"

Three recent major government consultations – the all-party Select Committee of the Ontario Legislature, the Minister's Advisory Group on 10-year Mental Health Strategy, and the Mental Health Commission of Canada – all heard it, loud and clear. People want more access to peer support.

Our members put the peer in peer support.

Consumer Survivor Initiatives and Peer Support Organizations – run by and for people with lived experience – have provided peer support and related services since the Ontario Ministry of Health first funded them in 1991. Our members are Ontario's leading subject experts on peer support.

OPDI brings member voices to provincial policy.

OPDI represents the consumer voice by highlighting the achievements and challenges, potential and needs of our member organizations and the many individuals who use them. We represent their interests at the major provincial mental health/addiction policy planning and strategy implementation tables.

Stronger peer groups make for a stronger system.

To deliver person-directed care within a person-centred mental health system, consumers must be involved in every aspect of service planning, delivery and evaluation. Our member-run organizations give people opportunities to develop transferable meeting, governance and systemic advocacy skills.

Welcome to Ontario Peer Development Initiative

 Ontario Peer Development is an organization of organizations. Our members are mental health Consumer/Survivor Initiatives and Peer Support Organizations across Ontario. These organizations are run by and for people with lived experience of a mental health issue or addiction issue. Our members provide a wide range of services and activities within their communities. No two are the same, but all approach their activities from the common understanding that people can and do recover with the proper supports in place, and that peer support is integral to successful recovery. Most of our member organizations work with their local mental health system tables to bring the consumer voice to service planning, evaluation, and coordination, and provide direct informal or formal peer support and self-advocacy support to individuals.

OPDI in turn brings the voice of these organizations to provincial-level policy and planning processes, research projects, and systemic advocacy issues.

Learn More About OPDI


Our free weekly electronic bulletin highlights current news and developments related to mental health, addictions and the social determinants of health. Anyone may subscribe. Simply click the logo to access the four most recent issues and the auto-subscribe function.  You can expect NewsToGo in your email inbox toward end-of day, every Friday, 45 weeks per year.
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OPDI Lighthouse Awards

Our Annual Lighthouse Award program currently has five categories:  three individual awards and two for organizations. The Lighthouse statuette, designed by the late glass artist Shirley Elford and made at Thorn Glass Studio in St Jacobs, comes in a wooden presentation box from Able Enterprises in Simcoe. Nominations are now open for 2012! Click the logo for the nomination package.

Visit our Awards Page


OPDI Training Programs

OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials™ Program is a basic skills training for people who have recovered their own mental health to the point of being ready to support others on their recovery journey. It was developed through a thorough consultative process with our members and others, and can be made available on a cost recovery basis whenever there is a critical mass of learners and an OPDI licensed trainer available.

Visit our Training Page

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This newsletter, emailed exclusively to members monthly, applies a closer lens to current events and developments that could impact our member organizations and those they serve. Look for updates on OPDI's activities, plus member profiles that highlight their achievements and promising practices. For more information on Memberships Click Here

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