Champlain Peer Network Welcome to CPN

About CPN

As of August 2008, the CPN represents all Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care funded Consumer/Survivor Initiatives across Champlain (see attached maps with identifies CSI organizations and locations), and has Peer Support Worker representatives who are working in other areas of the mental health system. In order to join, an organization must sign off on a letter of agreement outlining benefits and responsibilities. In the case of Peer Support Worker representatives, they, as individuals, must sign off on the letter of agreement. Each peer-led initiative that has signed a letter of agreement with the CPN has one seat/vote on the Network. In addition, there are ex-officio members who are non-voting members of the CPN. The CPN first developed an orientation manual including its mandate, updated terms of reference, and policies and procedures in 2008.

Members include Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa, S.H.A.R.E. (Renfrew County), Mental Health Support Project of Lanark, Leeds & Grenville, A Post Psychiatric Leisure Experience, Ottawa, Discovery 2000 - Mood Disorders, Ottawa, Les Ateliers de L'Elan, Representatives from Eastern Counties Peer Program, and Peer Support Workers in Champlain.


Key Priorities

The CPN strongly supports a recovery-oriented mental health system. Recovery, at a most fundamental level, is a highly personal process that is defined by the person, the journey they go through in finding meaning in their own life and on their own terms, and not being defined by the label of mental illness. The CPN sees the practical application of recovery at a systems level too. Commitment to recovery at a service and system level reflects specific, practical realities in our planning work:

1. People in recovery are meaningfully involved in the community at all levels of system and service planning, delivery and evaluation.

2. We can demonstrate how people in recovery have the power to shift their community and the health care system.

3. Services can be closely tied to improved outcomes at a person's level, based on the determinants of health, rather than symptom reduction alone

4. Services focus on community reconnection.

5. Respect, inclusion and authenticity form the basis for relationships.

6. Peer support services are an important ingredient of our recovery-oriented system, they cross all levels of need, and have been proven to be highly effective, both as a stand-alone service, or when accessed in combination with other mental health services.

The CPN strongly supports realistic funding levels for peer-led initiatives

We, as a system, must move the discussion of peer support within the mental health system to the next level. To do this, we need only look back to the Mental Health Implementation Task Force recommendations, which are, in the area of peer support, as yet unacted on. In December 2002, the Provincial Forum of MHITFs further emphasized the importance of the peer support function within our system:

The Provincial Forum notes the current lack of funding and formal status for peer support initiatives in Ontario’s healthcare system, despite indications that peer support can help in building outcomes that truly reflect the needs of people living with mental illness. Recommendations included:

1. Peer support should be integral to a recovery-oriented system.

2. For people living with mental illness, finding mentors to help achieve personal and professional goals can be a life-altering event.

3. For some people living with mental illness, the support of a peer, that is, someone with the personal knowledge that comes from having experienced mental illness, can help to make self-esteem, adjustment to disability, empowerment and self-determination realistic goals.

4. Peer support approaches must be integral to all mental health services to maximize the effectiveness of supporting individuals in their recovery.

5. Not all people living with mental illness choose to engage in formal clinical services, but some who decline formal treatment may be willing to use peer-driven services.

6. Peer services must be equitably funded as clinical services and be identified as relevant and mainstream partners in local systems of care.

An Eastern Regional Panel that sought to integrate recommendations from both the Southeastern Ontario and Champlain Mental Health Implementation Task Forces recommended an allocation of 5% of the mental health budget to peer initiatives, recognizing their legitimate role within a continuum of services and supports in a recovery-oriented mental health system.

Close Working Relationships with the Mental Health System Planning Tables and the Champlain LHIN

The Champlain Peer Network is committed to working collaboratively with the Champlain Mental Health Network and the Champlain LHIN. Our priority system-level planning activities are:

1. Ensuring there is CPN representation at the Champlain Mental Health Network Council. We actively encourage community members involvement at these tables.

2. Working collaboratively with the Champlain LHIN to understand how the CPN inter-relates to the LHIN. might act as a Community of Practice Network.

3. Encourage citizen engagement in systemic planning and advocacy.

The Champlain Peer Network has been actively working to implement a two-day conference in this fiscal year that will provide an orientation to support people in systems planning and advocacy participation.

Who should attend? Board or Advisory Committee members from Consumer-Survivor Initiatives (CSIs), Members of CSIs, Community members with direct experience of mental health issues, Peer Support Workers working in the mental health field Why should you come? If you're interested in learning more about the mental health system, the Champlain Peer Network of peer organizations, and in how you can become involved in systems advocacy with the Network. How many people from my organization can attend? What are the costs? We have capacity for up to 6 members from each CSI to attend, and will reserve some additional spaces for people from outside of the CSI network. There is no registration fee, and meals will be provided (excluding evening meals). Travel and hotel subsidies are available for CSI representatives upon request. Why is the Network offering this workshop? The Network would like to involve a larger, broader group of people in the work we do, identifying systems issues and solutions and participating in mental health planning tables (which are usually made up of service providers and funders). This workshop will give participants the background information, and the opportunity for interactive dialogue with CPN members, to jump-start their involvement. Participants will be asked, at the end of the workshop, to identify how they'd like to be involved in future CPN activities, and what type of support would enable this participation.