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Self Help & Peer Support

Self Help & Peer Support services are provided BY people who experience a mental health and/or addiction issue FOR people who experience a mental health and/or addictions issue.

Program Calendars

For more information about attending our groups visit our Peer Support Groups page.

Please Note: Groups are for adult residents of Waterloo-Wellington ONLY. Unfortunately, we cannot accept participants from outside of Waterloo Region, Guelph and Wellington County.


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What is Self Help & Peer Support? Download our brochure now for more information about our programs and services.

  • Contact Us

    For individual appointments, general email requests, or to inquire about an enrolled group, please email


    9 Wellington Street, Cambridge ON N1R 3Y4
    Phone: 519-623-6024


    80 Waterloo Ave., Guelph ON N1H 0A1
    Phone: 519-763-4014


    67 King Street E. Kitchener ON N2G 2K4
    Phone: 519-570-4595

  • History of Self Help & Peer Support

    In the late 1980’s, numerous Consumer Survivor Initiatives (CSI) were established across Ontario. These groups were mainly support by the Ontario Ministry of Health, as a contribution towards local mental health organizations.

    In the Waterloo and Wellington areas, four CSI organizations were created: Cambridge Active Self Help (CASH), Depressive/Manic Depressive Association of W.R. (DMDAWR), Mutual Aid for Psychiatric Survivors (MAPS), and Waterloo Region Self Help (WRSH).

    By 2000, many CSI’s across Ontario had disappeared or were facing uncertain futures. These issues led to discussions about local and creative funding.

    In 2003, the four groups in the Waterloo and Wellington areas decided to form the Self Help Alliance in order to share staffing and resources. At this time, 2 of the 4 organizations had changed their names. DMDAWR became Mood Disorders Association Waterloo Region (MDAWR), while maps was now referred to as Wellington-Dufferin Self Help (WDSH). As this alliance proved to be very beneficial to the four organizations, in 2009 the decision was made to merge formally. Therefore, on June 22, 2009 the Self Help Alliance Waterloo Wellington became officially incorporated.

    As of April 1, 2013 the Self Help services formally joined the new Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Branch, becoming Self Help & Peer Support in December of 2017. We believe this partnership will further see the enhancement and system support for peer roles within every juncture of the Addiction and Mental Health System.

  • Resources



    Finding My Way: A Personal Recovery Guide

    • Self Help & Peer Support is proud to share this guide with our community. All items from this publication were collected from individuals with lived experience of the mental health system through interviews, focus groups and other submissions.
    • Finding My Way: A Personal Recovery Guide is available at no cost to individuals with lived experience of mental health and/or addiction issues.  Books are available free of charge at our Self Help & Peer Support locations.
    • Please contact Brenda Richard to place an order: or 519-570-4595 x 4061


  • Volunteer

    The Self Help & Peer Support Volunteer Program is an opportunity for those who identify with a lived experience of mental health and/or addiction issues to gain skills and experience in a variety of areas.

    The program provides skill development opportunities and hands-on experience, enhancing the individual’s quality of life, enriching their experience, and leading to valuable, future community volunteer connections while engaging in their own recovery process.

    Our efforts involve recruiting and involving people with lived experience to provide leadership in the service’s activities. We work to ensure that all volunteer roles are clearly defined, safe, rewarding, and valued with Self Help & Peer Support and the CMHA WW organization. We seek opportunities for volunteers to grow in their roles and responsibilities according to their interests and the needs of the service.

    Volunteer roles include:

    Volunteer requirements

    • Must identify with a lived experience of a mental health and/or addiction issue.
    • Enrolled with and attending Self Help & Peer Support services.
    • Attend peer and recovery support groups prior to applying for a volunteer group facilitator position.
    • Good understanding of the values of peer support.
    • Good understanding of the principles and values of Self Help and CMHA WW services.
    • Ability to commit to one year (minimum) of volunteering a minimum of 5 – 6 hours a month.
    • Complete a volunteer application form.
    • Attend an interview with Self Help & Peer Support staff.
    • Provide 2-3 character and/or work related references.
    • Provide an acceptable Vulnerable Sector Police Check.
    • Demonstrate the appropriate skill set required for each volunteer position (ex. communication skills, conflict resolution).
    • Attend ongoing volunteer training and coaching.

    Service standards

    • Volunteers are responsible for supporting the goals, values and principles of Self Help & Peer Support’s service and the mission and vision of the CMHA WW organization including a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the reduction of stigma and discrimination of people living with addiction and/or mental health issues.
    • Furthermore, they are responsible for respecting their commitment to the service and for performing their duties to the best of their abilities.

    Regular volunteer meetings

    • Regular volunteer meetings will be held monthly and will be attended by a volunteer supervisor and Self Help & Peer Support service volunteers.
    • This meeting will encourage and exchange thoughts, concerns and ideas about how we provide peer support, and relay any service and program information required by volunteers to carry out their roles.
    • Volunteers are required to attend all volunteer trainings unless they have made arrangement with the volunteer supervisor and have given satisfactory explanation for doing so.

    Mandatory trainings involved:

    • Mental Health and Substance Use Peer Support Training
    • Privacy & Confidentiality
    • Navigating the Topic of Suicide in a Peer Group
    • Understanding Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation
    • Trauma Informed Peer Support
    • Communication
    • Conflict Resolution
    • De-escalation Skills
    • Boundaries
    • Diversity, Inclusion, Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, and Understanding Bias
    • Self-Care

Programs and Services


Peer Support Groups

Self Help & Peer Support provides group and individual peer support services for Waterloo Wellington adults. All Self Help & Peer Support services are provided by peers: people who have…

Skills for Safer Living

A Suicide-Intervention Support Group The Skills for Safer Living program is a combination of a twenty-week skills-based group and a peer support group for individuals with recurring thoughts and behaviours…

Spark of Brilliance

The Centre for Excellence in Peer Support

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