Peer Mental Health Program

Building on the foundation’s 19 years of experience and success in delivering peer-to-peer diabetes education programming, Diabetes Hope Foundation was awarded with an Ontario Trillium Foundation Seed grant in 2016 to develop a new complementary asset-based Peer Mental Health Model (full draft of model available upon request) to support youth living with diabetes and mental health disorders.

Over the last 11 months, the foundation has been successful in engaging youth living with diabetes, academic professionals, healthcare practitioners, and the First Nations community to ensure that the model is inclusive of the needs of all youth living with diabetes and mental health challenges. Informed by 25 diabetes, mental heath care and non-government organizations (see Project Advisory Board Members), the model reflects the unique insights of youth who are the end consumers of our diabetes and mental health care system.

The purpose of the model is to provide clear guidelines for volunteer frontline peer mental health mentors to provide support for youth living with diabetes and mental health challenges. Included in the model is comprehensive administrative framework; province-wide list of diabetes, mental health and traditional health and wellness resources; and a detailed curriculum plan and training modules to establish core competency requirements for volunteer mentors.

The primary role of the peer mentor is to provide peer social support for youth who are transitioning between systems of care. Through the program, the peer mentor will aim to facilitate dialogue between service providers, engage youth with mental healthcare resources, and provide a continuum of care to reduce dropout rates between services.

Currently the model is in its final stages of development, and our goal is to pilot the training curriculum through our own alumni community of over 590 type 1 adults living with diabetes to offer support to diabetes education centres across Southern Ontario.

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.