by Connor Craig, Foundry Ridge Meadows
Peer support at Foundry Ridge Meadows works to empower and support youth and young people always focusing on their goals and ideas. Peer support requires the client voluntarily choose to engage with the service for best results.
The voluntary engagement is very important to the success of the service as building rapport with the client is an essential part of fostering trust and open communication.
Youth have often cited a feeling of being passed from service to service and re-explaining their story, seemingly having left the youth with a negative impression when it comes to accessing services.
Peer support works well in maintaining a connection to the youth and acting as a bridge to other services in an organic, inclusive fashion. In this way the peer support worker can model hope, recovery, and relate deeply to challenges with mental health and substance use as well as aid in navigating the network of mental health and substance use services.
Peer support, along with the front end admin support, are usually the first contact a youth or family member will have when entering into Foundry Ridge Meadows. These two roles work together to facilitate initial questions, surveys, booking of appointments, and any paperwork such as confidentiality forms that get filled out.
Peer support can also work closely with the integrated services available, often answering questions youth may have about what to expect and if these services (counselling, primary care, partners services, socials, therapeutic rec, groups) would be beneficial for them. Or if other services were accessed first, peer support can be used as a way to build on, acquire support and work towards goals established while engaging in those other services.
During a typical appointment with a peer support worker goal-setting and strength acknowledgment play a large role in supporting a young person. Peer support can often function as a sounding board for young people, offering an insight and reflection more closely relevant to their current mindset and age.
Advocating on behalf of young people is another role of peer support. If they feel uncomfortable or unable to reach out to a service or individual but have indicated they would like to, peer support can encourage, accompany or facilitate that interaction. Youth can also expect a peer support worker to be present at social groups and events. Peer support workers often co-facilitate with a recreational therapist or solely facilitate groups.
At Foundry Ridge Meadows in particular a wide range of social events are offered both in person and virtual, such as cooking classes, art tutorials, craft making and creative writing, which are available to register for by calling into Foundry Ridge Meadows at 604-380-3133 and inquiring about social events. Information and a wait list for the Youth Dungeons and Dragons game can also be registered for by contacting the peer support worker, Connor Craig, directly at 604-346-5434, or email@example.com.