Peer Support Groups
Badge of Life Canada offers one weekly psychoeducational support meeting for first responder peers via Zoom and the signup is found on our homepage.
We have sought out and validated the existence of peers with lived experience and groups who are presently doing peer support work within their communities. We look for positive growth amongst those who are listed as having lived experience and confirm that they have their own self-care plans to ensure their own well-being as they work to support others. We believe that mental health professionals are part of the journey and maintenance in a healthy life of a survivor.
It is incumbent upon each person who reaches out to an individual with lived experience or peer group to determine if they are the right fit for their individual needs.
Empathy may be the key connecting factor – recognizing a person who has walked in their shoes. Others will want specific groups for specific people and building a comfort and trust in each other before allowing new strangers in. Mixing police with civilians can be problematic as our experiences often vary largely on the trauma scale and it has been noted that those outside policing can become traumatized listening to police career experiences.
Looking to add your group? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canada Wide - Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS)
The Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada work in partnership to deliver Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS). Our services complement other mental health and family support services available from both departments.
At OSISS, we provide a national peer support network for Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans and their families experiencing an operational stress injury (OSI). First responders may be included in the group dependant on the resources available in that area.
The OSISS network is coordinated by screened, trained peers who bring firsthand experience and practical knowledge of what it is like to struggle with an OSI or to live with someone with an OSI.
Within the program, confidentiality is paramount. Your identity and discussions with us are held in confidence, except in situations of imminent harm to a person, child abuse, or subpoena.
Why peer support?
If you or your family member have an OSI, the road to wellness can be hard to navigate. Peer support connects you with an understanding ear, a supportive community of people with similar experiences, help to set goals, and effective resources that can help.
Breaking down the stigma and providing social support has led many Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans and their families to seek the help they need and change their lives for the better.
OSISS in your community
The OSISS network includes 63 personnel in more than 33 locations across Canada. Members of the OSISS team provide leadership, firsthand experience and practical knowledge of what life is like with an OSI.
To connect with your local OSISS Network:
Edmonton Police Service Veteran’s assistance Program
Location: Meet at the Police Association office last Tuesday of every month.
Peer Support Coordinator Christopher Hayden
Training: CISM trained, Attend Peer counselling at Metro Toronto Police
Education (Trauma related courses): Peer counselling, suicide prevention, active listening CISM, CISD team leader
Years’ Experience – 27 yrs. Edmonton Police Service
As a front-line responder: 27 years
As a peer support provider: over 15 years
Retired or Active: Retired in 2005
Background: Went through AADAC rehab center at age 22. 2.5 years on the job. Have been sober for over 37 years. Started along with another member the Peer support group within Edmonton Police Service in 1985. Worked closely with Human Resources. Participated in Training for CISD,CISM, suicide prevention. Was a crisis negotiator with EPS for 10 years.
After retiring in 2005 became part of the Veterans Assistance Program for the Service. We provide a support for retired members in crisis or in need of support. Closely work with the Service in matters involving any retired members.
Peer support aspect simply to provide an outlet for members to discuss issues in a group setting. Have access to the Services referral list and also understand that we are not doctors but will provide or steer them to professional help if needed.
Anonymous and confidential are the cardinal rule. We are open to retired and serving members and now beginning to reach out to other agencies.
Contact: Chris Hayden
The First Responders Cafe. Established January 2018 and provides confidential weekly support groups in several Northern Communities of B.C.
We welcome all First Responders who come together to share our experience, strength, and hope with each other. We are a non-profit registered under the societies act of British Columbia.
Governed by a Board of community minded citizens, and include a member of RCMP, EMS, Fire Services, Search and Rescue, Victim assistance Worker, two Medical Doctors with our president Human Resources Manager Hampton Lumber. Our Directors are concerned with the increase in number of suicides in our province. Smaller northern communities do not have the resources as larger centers.
For further information please contact Ron Blinn Project Coordinator.
Peer Support Group
We host peer support groups weekly for those experiencing OSI and PTSD at the locations listed below. For more information use the contact listed below for place and time of meeting in a city near you. If there is no support group available near you, contact the provincial coordinator, Julius Brown at 1-888-495-6068, 306-525-5601 (Ext. 222), 306-552-3801 or email email@example.com
Regina – Contact Leigh at 306-726-5881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Saskatoon – Contact Mark at 306-280-9372 (call or text) or email email@example.com
Prince Albert – Contact Michelle at 306-981-6083
Weyburn – Marvin at 306-861-6127 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Moose Jaw – Contact Julius at 306-552-3801 email@example.com
For those serving and retired Military and Community First Responders: You are welcome to join us for an informal, relaxed, confidential discussion about the obstacles we face on a daily basis. You are not alone. We are here to help, support and encourage you.
RCMP Support for Operational Stress Injuries
Big White Wall is an online mental health and wellbeing service offering self-help programs, creative outlets and a community that cares. When you're dealing with everyday stressors or major life events, they can help you get through it.
Upon joining, you’ll have access to:
- A supportive, anonymous community
- Artistic tools to help visually represent how you’re feeling
- Guided programmes on a range of topics such as ‘Manage Stress & Anxiety’, ‘Quit smoking’, ‘Manage Your Depression’, ‘Eat Healthy & Lose Weight’ and more
- Lots of different tests to help determine how you’re feeling
- A bank of useful resources and information about mental health and more
Big White Wall is available FREE to all Ontario residents with an eligible Ontario postal code.
H.E.A.R.T. (Heart) Group - Toronto, Ontario
The H.E.A.R.T. (Heart) Group, a peer support group for police officers, for over twenty years, continues weekly. We have 2 groups every Wednesday, one from 10 am until noon and a second one on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm.
We continue to have group members from various police services including the O.P.P., the R.C.M.P., Hamilton, Peel, Toronto, York, etc. The only requirement is to be a sworn police officer – active, retired, suspended, on sick leave or any other category we haven’t seen yet. There is no cost for the group members thanks to the support of the Toronto Police Association.
Contact: Patricia Davies, BA, (Dipl.) AC, (cert.) OACCPP
Phone: 416 859 3579
The Phoenix P.T.S. Support Group
"First Responders Supporting First Responders through Operational Stress Injuries"
Every Thursday evening
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
St. Stephen's Anglican Church 14946 Steeles Avenue East Hornby, ON (Halton Hills) between Winston Churchill Blvd and Trafalgar Rd
ALL first responders including dispatchers and nurses
Please note WOC meetings are inclusive of all and do not require a diagnosis.
Wings of Change - Peer Support
All first responders, health care professionals, dispatchers, military members and corrections workers are welcome. Join us for coffee and anonymous mental health solution based discussion. We provide a safe and stigma free environment for anyone wishing to receive peer support with regards to occupational trauma and stress. You are welcome to share your views on related topics or simply sit back and be part of an understanding group of fellow peers. Reminder - that a mental health diagnosis is NOT required to attend, and that we do not provide professional care. Crisis numbers will be provided at every meeting. We hope to see you there.