A Place of Connection, Support, Health and Wellness
Established in 1993, Connections Peer Support Center is run by and for consumers of mental health services. Connections is a place where we find acceptance and encouragement, a place where we do not experience the stigma, judgement, and limitation of being labelled “mentally ill” that we often encounter from others in our lives. This is a place where both members and staff are able to give and receive support and to learn from each other’s lived experience with mental health challenges.
Our mission is to promote health, wellness and hope-based recovery for those who have had, currently have, or are at risk of having mental health issues.
Connections Peer Support Center empowers members to reach their highest emotional, physical and social potential through setting and achieving personal goals. Using the Intentional Peer Support model, Connections fosters an environment where those living with mental health challenges develop supportive and trusting relationships with peers, empowering each to learn from one another and lift each other up as they move toward self-directed recovery. Our programs, determined by our members, create options to improve emotional and physical health, experience enrichment and the arts, and improve vocational skills. Members regularly participating at Connections Peer Support Center report fewer hospitalizations, fewer mental health crises, and improved quality of life. This is what recovery looks like. Connections welcomes–and needs–everyone working together with us in support of our members.
How Does Peer Support Work?
The foundation of our approach is Intentional Peer Support (IPS), and connection is one of the essential tasks of IPS. Human beings are hardwired for connection, which is an essential element of healing and recovery. Peer support provides this necessary component for healing and the journey to recovery.
People who have had a similar life experience with mental health challenges feel an immediate sense of connection (e.g. she or he “gets it”). When there’s no assumption of an expert/recipient dynamic, many people become willing to hear, think, and see in new ways.
Intentional peer support is about relational change – a commitment to mutuality and negotiation, noticing power dynamics, and an agreement that we both are there to learn through the process of our relationship. Connections Peer Support Center is a place where these relationships can take root and grow, empowering members to reach their highest emotional, physical, and social potential through setting and achieving personal goals.