A growing concern in Canada is the impact mental ill health is having on people over the course of their career, many of whom are affected at the peak of their performing years. It is impossible to know exactly how each person experiencing mental illness feels, or how they see their lives and the world around them. Everyone’s circumstance is unique. Connecting with another person who has lived with mental illness (or is perhaps still doing so) — a peer — can be a vital link for someone struggling with their own situation. Peer support can help navigate the intricacies of treatments and supports which, to someone with mental illness, can seem to be an overwhelmingly complicated maze. Peer support can help people regain independence and mastery over their own mental health recovery processes, literally transforming lives and enabling people to participate fully in, and contribute to, their families, jobs, and society.
Twenty to twenty-five per cent of the labour force is affected by issues of mental health ranging from stress, to burn-out, to depression. These, and other mental health conditions, can result in significant long-term disability. No other illness has such an impact on the Canadian workforce.