Written by Nicole Chovil, Projects/Initiatives Coordinator, Child, Youth and Young Adult Mental Health and Substance Use Services

Youth who have overcome their own mental health struggles will soon be providing peer support services to Fraser Health's youth mental health clients.

Connecting with someone who really understands what it’s like to live with mental ill-health is both empowering and healing. Being able to make a difference for someone through sharing first-hand recovery experiences instils hope and is transformational.

Fraser Health is partnering with Coast Mental Health to provide peer support services to our adolescent mental health clients.

Youth peer coordinators Leigh-Ann Horowitz Mackintosh and Fraser Mackenzie, are training the first cohort of youth peer support workers. Armed with a passion to help other young people, the group is close to completing their in-class training. They will spend the next three months gaining practical experience. Formal peer support services will start in early October.

“No matter the hurdles, we should never give up hope. With support from peers ‘who have been there’ we can come out the other side stronger, wiser, and more beautiful,” said Leigh-Ann, who has overcome challenges with her own mental health.

“Peer support is fundamental to young people’s recovery. Our clients will benefit greatly from the understanding, encouragement and expertise of peers who are on similar recovery journeys,” said Mike Kenyon, acting manager for Child, Youth and Young Adult Mental Health and Substance Use Services.

“We can’t do it for you but we will be there with you,” said our passionate youth peer support workers, who are eager to begin this work and make a difference in the lives of other young people like ourselves.

Please join us in a big thank you to Leigh-Ann and Fraser for their incredible work getting this program off the ground.

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