In partnership with Robyn Priest LIVE YOUR TRUTH, the Stigma-Free Society is proud to announce our upcoming Peer Support Worker Training sessions, tailored specifically for rural residents in Canada. This two-day virtual course will be held on November 1st and November 8th (8am – 4pm PDT, 10am – 6pm CDT, 11am – 7pm EDT, with breaks). This training will equip participants to facilitate peer support programs and become leaders in their communities.
These sessions empower individuals with shared backgrounds to work together to develop wellness-related skills. Taking this training is a great opportunity to find and provide support for mental health, along with those who understand each other’s challenges!
What is Peer Support?
The Mental Health Commission of Canada describes peer support as “a supportive relationship between people who have a lived experience in common.” The benefits of this approach to emotional and social support have been proven time and time again.
One of the most reputable Canadian peer support training providers is Robyn Priest LIVE YOUR TRUTH, an organization that offers online training for both individuals and families. The training focuses on holistic approaches to wellbeing and practical strategies for promoting empathy and communicating effectively. Robyn Priest emphasizes that “peer support isn’t limited to mental health or addiction issues. It can be about anything anyone is going through; about life.” As human beings, we have a deep need for belonging. In addition to bridging gaps in professional mental health services, peer support can help us to build the connections we crave.
Peer Support in Rural Communities
Recent publications from the Mental Health Commission of Canada have emphasized that those living in rural and remote communities face specific challenges when it comes to maintaining wellness. These challenges include a relative lack of professional support services such as psychologists or counsellors. In these contexts, peer support is a great option. Because peer support can be easily done over video chat, it is a highly accessible resource.
No one understands the life and struggles of those living and working in agricultural communities better than those who have that shared experience. Within rural communities, shared experiences might include dealing with loneliness, burnout, stress around crops, unique family challenges, addiction, and so much more.
Robyn Priest herself reflects on the tremendous benefits of speaking with those who understand what you are going through: “I know having moved from the city to a farming community was a culture shock and being able to chat with others who had experienced that, or even just chatting with others who had dealt with dealing with crops, animals, the ever changing seasons, helped enormously. It was like – ahhh you get it.” These shared experiences allow us to empathize from a place of deep understanding. Training as a peer support worker will help you to translate that empathy into compassionate action.
Participants will gain an understanding of peer support fundamentals, as well as how to apply them in the contexts of one-on-one support and group facilitation. They will also learn how to share personal experiences in ways that help those facing similar challenges, including tips about demonstrating self-reflection and vulnerability while still maintaining professionalism.
The training includes discussion and reflection on the importance of self-care as a regular practice. Supporting others can be an emotionally challenging task, making it all the more important to take a holistic approach to your own wellbeing.
Overall, participants can expect to gain valuable knowledge and skills that will help them to do work that is nourishing, caring, and empathic—as a peer support worker or a support group facilitator, and indeed in all walks of life.
This rewarding work opens up many opportunities to cultivate strong and supportive communities. The possibilities are there for you to discover!
Training and Registration Details
Tailored specifically for rural residents in Canada, this two-day virtual course will take place on November 1st and November 8th (8am – 4pm PDT, 10am – 6pm CDT, 11am – 7pm EDT, with breaks).
Thanks to a generous grant from Pacific Blue Cross BC, this training is free of cost, with a $50 deposit required to secure your spot. Your deposit will be refunded once you attend the session, unless you choose to donate the $50 to the Stigma-Free Society. Donations are always welcome! Deposits for those who do not participate will not be refunded and allocated to the Society.
Spots fill up quickly, so register today! Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to build skills for cultivating empathy and understanding in your local community.