It has been quite some time since PSACC sent out an update to all those interested in following our evolution. This is an exciting time for PSACC and we want to share our news.
By now I expect that you are aware that we are about to host our first National Conference on peer support, a conference we are proud to say is 100% dedicated to peer support. Indeed, every aspect of this conference was built around the theme of peer support and we hope to maintain this focus in subsequent conferences. Nearly 400 people will be joining us at this first conference and we have 3 days packed with inspiring keynotes and informative breakout sessions from across Canada and around the world.
We believe very strongly that peer support will be a strategic enabler in helping Canada transform its mental health system and this Conference will help us raise the profile of peer support.
We are very proud to report that we have now officially received Charitable Status from the Government of Canada. The main reason why we sought this status was to enable us to raise funds that will assist in lowering the cost to individual peer supporters in Canada who wish to become certified. We fully realise that Certification is a rigorous and costly process but we are committed to doing everything we can to minimise user fees. While we do not expect this service to ever be offered free of charge, our goal is to keep the costs to a minimum.
Over the last several months we have received many individual requests from peer supporters across Canada who wish to become “Certified Peer Supporters”. It is really encouraging to hear from so many individuals who share our vision. PSACC, as an organization, is very early on in this process – our organization is now a little over a year old – and we are currently progressing through a pilot of the certification process with our partners in the province of Nova Scotia to ensure that everything is done correctly. All of us on the Board of Directors are volunteers and with limited staff capacity, we are restricted as to how rapidly we can develop all of our processes for individual requests for certification- but we are getting there.
After the National Conference on Peer Support is completed in early May, we will be turning our attention to the next steps. We have recognized that we need to work on two parallel streams to move forward:
- Identify other provinces interested in using our Certification Services for groups of peer supporters thereby enhancing mental health care through the provision of more deliberate peer support as a complement to traditional clinical care; and
- Develop a process to accommodate individual certification services in various regions of Canada.
For all those interested in learning more about the PSACC certification process, our Certification Handbook will be posted to our web site on April 29th and we encourage you to peruse it. It provides the details and requirements to become a Certified Peer Supporter.
We also receive a fair number of requests asking for information on where to attend peer support training in various regions of Canada. At this stage, all we can do is refer people to training programs we are already aware of – such as the Ontario Peer Development Initiative (OPDI) or Association québécoise pour la réadaptation psychosociale (AQRP) – Pairs Aidant Réseaux, to name a few. We are working on acquiring capacity to help build
an up to date inventory up to date inventory of training organisations in various provinces. If you know someone with the necessary research and networking skills, and the time and desire to volunteer, please let us know.
Once we have identified all training providers, our intent will be to reach out to them to determine if they are interested in purchasing our Knowledge Matrix. We feel this matrix will be essential in validating training approaches to ensure that those who attend peer support training have a good chance of successfully completing the knowledge examination. This Knowledge Matrix will also be available on our web site on April 29th at a modest cost to organisations.
For those attending the NCPS next week in Halifax, we certainly look forward to seeing you. For those who cannot attend, we look forward to seeing you at a future conference in another area of Canada.
A most sincere thank you for your support.
Peer Support Accreditation and Certification (Canada)