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Investigating the Role of Peer Support in Reducing the Harms of Substance Use and Advancing Recovery: A Qualitative Analysis of CMHA Hamilton’s Community Mental Health Peer Support Initiatives

The Canadian Mental Health Association, Hamilton Branch (CMHA) has partnered with Dr. James Gillett and doctoral students Rachel VanEvery and Jeff Black to evaluate the impact of CMHA’s peer-based support program which provides mental health support for working-aged men and transitional aged youth who use substances.

The primary goal of this project is to support mental health and maximize harm reduction and advance recovery among the priority populations through quantitative and qualitative impact assessments which will inform the expansion of peer-based support.

The program provides SMART recovery-based support to reduce the harms of substance use and advance recovery. The CMHA collects entrance and exit data from program participants. The research partnership will analyze these data, determine the strengths of the program, and set the foundations for ongoing evaluation and best practices to further meet the needs of the community.