Peer supporters are people with lived experience of mental health conditions, who may or may not have ongoing symptoms, and they can also be family members/loved ones of those with personal lived experience. Their role is to provide support to others facing similar difficulties.
The mandatory standards of practice are based on recovery oriented principles and they are designed not to impede the authentic, organic nature of peer support. National certification will be made available to peer supporters on a voluntary basis and peer support training programs that meet the knowledge standard requirements within the standards of practice will be eligible for PSACC accreditation.
In addition to providing certification and accreditation services, PSACC will oversee the evaluation research database that will contain evidence based data tracking the outcomes of mental health peer support in relation to individuals, organizations and service systems.
Having high-quality standards of practice coupled with national certification and evidence based research is expected to result in numerous benefits. A few of them are:
- better assurance to organizations and service systems that peer support is consistently provided with due care and skill;
- full acceptance of peer support as complementary to the medical model of mental health care;
- recognition of peer support as a valued intervention forming part of a holistic approach to mental health and well-being;
- reduced burden on the mental health care system through increased use of peer support in all parts of Canada; and
- a national credential allowing certified peer supporters to practise anywhere in the country.