New Peer Support Program Announced

The Manitoba government is issuing a request for proposals for a community-based agency to deliver formal peer and fami-ly support services at the Dauphin Regional Health Centre. Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen made the announcement December 13, 2019.

"A person who has lived through and recovered from mental health or addictions issues can establish trust and help others in their own recovery," said Friesen. "Peer-support programs in formal health-care settings are successful in other areas of Can-ada, and we expect that implementing these services here will help reduce inpatient admissions and decrease rates of re-admission."

The request for proposal is seeking a community-based agency to provide peer and family support services in the communities of Dauphin and Winnipeg.

Peer support programs offer an evidence-based service that us-es the expertise of trained staff with lived experience to support the recovery of people struggling with mental health and addic-tions. Peer support staff work with clients and families from initial contact through ongoing support and post-discharge followup.

  • Implementation of the program here in Manitoba will be based on successful peer support models in other Canadian jurisdictions, including Ottawa, which have been successful in:
  • reducing emergency department wait times, inpatient ad-missions and re-admissions;
  • reducing length of inpatient stays;
  • improving patient and family experiences in crisis situa-tions;
  • reducing hospital visits; and
  • improving health outcomes.

The Minister noted the implementation of the program will meet a recommendation from the VIRGO report, which iden-tified peer support in formal health-care settings as a short-term priority.

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