Peer Support Program

Welcome to the Peer Support Program!

peer group 2

The Peer Support Program is comprised of student Peer Supporters with lived experiences related to mental health and academic challenges.  Trained by Hope + Me - Mood Disorders Association of Ontario and the Health & Wellness Centre, Peer Supporters organize and facilitate drop-in groups where fellow students discuss a variety of topics, including mental health, family/relationship dynamics, and academic experiences.  For this upcoming academic year, students can also connect one-on-one with a Peer Supporter.

 

Please reach out to health.utsc@utoronto.ca if you are interested in connecting with a Peer Supporter during a drop-in group or individually.  The Peer Support Program runs during the Fall and Winter semesters.

Drop In Hours: Wednesdays, SL266, 5:15-6:45pm; Thursdays, Online, 1:15-2:45pm

Sign up on CLNx to attend our Drop In Sessions.

 

 

Peer Support Frequently Asked Questions

Any University of Toronto student can attend a drop-in group.  Here are some reasons students might want attend:

  • seeking support with their mental health and academic needs
  • prefer to talk to another student who may be able to relate to their lived experiences
  • feeling isolated on campus and want to connect
  • wanting to get better connected with services across campus
  • seeking community

Our Peer Support Drop-In Group is facilitated by two trained Peer Supporters. 

Our groups have the following components:

  • Welcome. All students who attend are welcomed to the group space by the Peer Supporters.
  • Introductions. Everyone attending will have an opportunity to introduction themselves and share their pronouns (optional).
  • Comfort Agreement. At each group, attendees review the comfort agreement, which includes:
    • Protecting confidentially
    • Creating a judgment free zone
    • Being mindful of inclusive language
    • Active Listening
    • Voluntary Participation
  • Check-in. All students attending will have an opportunity to “check-in,” letting the group how they are doing, what’s on their mind, and what would be helpful for them in attending.  
  • Support & Resources.   Our Peer Supporters engage participants in conversations that offer support and potential resources for any questions, challenges, or difficulties that may come up for students during group.
  • Check-Out. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on the group experience at the end of group.
  • Coping skills to help improve stress and reduce feels of being overwhelmed
  • Strategies for managing mental health
  • Suggestions for resources to better manage your academics
  • Exploring your strengths as a student
  • Strategies for relationship building with friends and family
  • Feeling connected with other students on campus, managing loneliness
  • Getting referrals to other resources and services across campus

Recovery College

Recovery College Peer Facilitators, 3 students in green t-shirt smiling

University of Toronto Scarborough Campus partnered with Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences is offering Recovery College at your school. A Recovery College is a unique, free, virtual, mental health and well-being learning centre where people with lived experiences of navigating wellness through the post-secondary experience and peers come together to co-design and deliver courses on topics that support mental health and well-being. The courses being offered by Recovery College have been developed by UTSC students! Through structured curriculum, guided discussions, and activities, Recovery College offer the opportunity to empower yourself in the pursuit of well-being, on your terms. Please see details for Recovery College offerings below. For more information, please email Peer Support Specialist, Brooklyn Bastarache, bastaracheb@ontarioshores.ca . To register for any or all of the courses, please go to UTSC Recovery College Winter 2024 Registration Survey (surveymonkey.com). Please note, courses are only open to UTSC students only.  

Recovery College Courses

Dates: Tuesdays, January 30, February 6, 13, 20, 27, March 5, 2024

Time: 2-3pm

Room: SL266 - Hybrid available if requested

As students, sometimes it can feel like everyone has received a manual on everything needed to be a happy and healthy adult - except you. This experience can be frustrating and confusing. In this course, we will learn tips and tricks to navigate our journey to adulthood! Through semi-structured curriculum, guided discussions, and activities, we will explore life skills and how to apply them in ways that are helpful for you and your needs. You will also have the opportunity to connect with others to form ongoing meaningful relationships.

This course has been updated based on feedback from your peers to be increasingly relevant to the current experiences of students. We welcome those who have taken this course before and newcomers alike!

What will we learn?

  • To expand our understanding of what it means to be an “adult”
  • How to balance and prioritize the various areas of our lives to avoid burnout
  • To build life skills that are relevant and useful to you in your specific circumstances, whether you’re an undergrad or recent grad
  • About building financial management, social, and vocational skills
  • How to implement boundaries
  • Strengthen our communication skills

Course Topics:

  • Week 1: Opening the Door to Adulthood
  • Week 2: Healthy Skills 101: Habitual Rituals
  • Week 3: Constructing Conversations and Relationships
  • Week 4: Personal Development: Being a Breadwinner
  • Week 5: Balling on a Budget
  • Week 6: Maintaining Balance and Managing Expectations

Dates: Wednesdays, January 31, Feb 7, 14, 21, 28, March 6, 13, 2024

Time: 2-3pm

Room: SL266 - Hybrid available if requested

One of the most important relationships you’ll ever have is with yourself.  Sometimes due to the society around us, our own mental health, or our lack of appropriate coping skills, this relationship doesn’t always thrive as much as it could. Bouncing back from difficulties in our personal, academic, and emotional lives can be difficult. But this kind of resilience is an essential to our wellbeing and happiness. In this course, through a semi-structured curriculum, guided discussions, and activities, we will explore ways to foster our relationship with ourselves and become more empowered in the process, while also highlighting our strengths to better equip us to adapt to challenging situations. We will realize that although adversity is inherent in the human experience, we are not powerless and we are not alone.

 This course has been updated based on feedback from your peers to be increasingly relevant to the current experiences of students.

What will you learn?

●  To appreciate the diversity and complexity of our shared human experiences

●  How to develop meaningful and healthy connections with ourselves and others

●  Ways to utilize skills like journaling, meditation, and making wellness plans

●  How to develop and apply self-advocacy and resiliency skills

●     About the power of self-awareness and reflection

●     How to foster self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-compassion

  • How your hobbies and passions can translate into your career

Course Topics:

  • Week 1: Journaling
  • Week 2: Self-esteem, Self-confidence and Self-compassion
  • Week 3: Personal/Internal Obstacles to Resilience
  • Week 4: Environmental Obstacles to Resilience 
  • Week 5: Diversity and Resilience
  • Week 6: Social Connection, Combating Stigma and Advocacy
  • Week 7: Discovering Your Passions

Dates: Thursdays, Feb 29, Mar 7, 14, 21, 28, 2024

Time: 2-3 pm

Room: SL266 - Hybrid available if requested

As international students, it can be difficult to manage our wellness when facing unexpected challenges in university. Experiencing burnout, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness  are common amongst students. While these feelings are uncomfortable, it's important to remember that they will pass. In this course, we will explore different early signs of unhealthy feelings, learn how to utilize skills to foster a balanced mindset, and recognize the importance of destigmatizing mental health. More importantly, we will learn how to navigate seasonal depression caused by Canadian winters, a new experience for many international students. Through these sessions, you and your peers will have the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions, participate in thoughtful activities, and share your lived experiences in a safe and supportive space.

What will we learn?

  • Recognizing the early signs of stress, anxiety and burnout
  • Vital strategies for coping with uncomfortable feelings
  • Ways of staying motivated and keeping a positive frame of thinking
  • Understanding and destigmatizing mental health
  • How the climate may affect our wellbeing
  • Mental health resource navigation on campus
  • Learning how to apply these skills in future situations

Potential content to cover during this course: Recognizing stress, anxiety and burnout, dealing with negative thoughts, self-care, destigmatizing mental health, seasonal depression, utilizing on-campus resources   

Course topics:

  • Week 1: It’s Ok not to be Ok
  • Week 2: You’re Not Lazy, Just Burnt Out
  • Week 3: How to Defuse the Stress Bomb: Unpacking Anxiety
  • Week 4: Getting Through The Storm: Finding a Silver Living
  • Week 5: Mental Health School Resources

This course was created in partnership with international students at UTSC.