Peer Mental Health Model

In 2016, Diabetes Hope Foundation (DHF) received a SEED Grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to develop a new Peer Mental Healthcare Model for youth living with diabetes and mental health challenges. Through this project, Diabetes Hope Foundation completed a scan of all existing mental health services and resources for children and youth in Ontario; identified gaps in mental healthcare and barriers to access; and developed youth-led solutions to support youth living with concurrent chronic illnesses in the province.

The project was led by a Youth Advisory Board and two supporting mental health and First Nations advisory boards, who worked together to complete all project deliverables. A total of 54 volunteers participated in the project, and 13 roundtable discussions were hosted by Diabetes Hope Foundation to develop comprehensive administrative guidelines and mandatory core competency requirements for a Peer Support Program to be integrated into existing diabetes healthcare services.

This year, Diabetes Hope Foundation was successful in raising funds from the community to support the training of 50 Peer Support Mentors to pilot the model over the next two years. To date, 19 volunteer mentors have been recruited and trained for the pilot. All volunteers completed 12 hours of Mental Health First Aid training and certification, and completed an additional two full days (May 27-28th 2017) of leadership training hosted by Diabetes Hope Foundation, Mood Disorders Association of Ontario and Me to We.

This fall, DHF's trained mentors will pilot a new Peer Support Program for transitioning teens living with diabetes from across Ontario who face barriers to strong emotional health and social skills. The aim of the training curriculum is to provide our mentors with the resources they need to support youth who are transitioning between diabetes healthcare service.

To find out more about our initiative, or how you could get involved in becoming a Peer Mental Health Mentor for the program, email rovina@diabeteshopefoundation.com.