Peer support initiatives play a vital in Ontario’s mental health system, although this role continues to be undervalued. Studies have proven that these initiatives not only support people in recovery but also reduce their use of hospital, crisis and other expensive services. Peer support both eases and enables people’s transition from formal mental health services back into the community.
The OMHF developed peer support as a research priority in collaboration with sector leaders, including the Ontario Peer Development Initiative; Schizophrenia Society of Ontario; Addictions and Mental Health Ontario; and Canadian Mental Health Association. Research topics of interest include: integration of peer support workers into Local Health Integration Networks, report cards and the challenges faced by peer support workers.
For the 2016-2017 funding cycle, the OMHF is seeking innovative proposals (grants, fellowships and studentships) that address this challenge. We encourage collaboration with mental health agencies. Researchers should ensure that their statement about the mental health relevance of their proposed research is clearly stated. The review committee still looks to the researchers to be as explicit as possible. They should consider the following platforms in making their case:
- Improve mental health and well-being of all Ontarians
- Create healthy, resilient, inclusive communities
- Identify mental health and addictions problems early and intervene
- Provide timely, high quality, integrated, person-directed health and other human services
- Access - Providing the right care for mental health and addiction
- Connect - Deliver better coordinated and integrated care in the community, closer to home
- Inform - Expanding mental health programs in schools and workplaces
- Protect - More public reports on health system performance, more innovative approaches based on evidence, expanding patient engagement