Investment Supports Mental Health Peer-Support Training for Youth
Office of Addictions and Mental Health
April 8, 2022 - 2:03 PM
The government is providing a one-time investment of $100,000 to the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Society to expand their peer-support training to more young people.
Forty teenagers and young adults will participate in the Peer Outreach Support Services and Education (POSSE) Project, a youth-driven, harm reduction, peer training and outreach program for people ages 15 to 30.
Participants will receive training to become peer outreach workers in their community. Once trained, they can provide non-judgmental, harm reduction support and education to their peers who may be dealing with violence, homelessness, substance use or sexualized violence.
“It is critical that those dealing with mental health and addiction challenges are met with support in a familiar and welcoming way, particularly for youth who are often less likely to reach out for help,” said Hants West MLA Melissa Sheehy-Richard, on behalf of Brian Comer, Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health. “I am grateful Kimm Kent, founder of the POSSE Project, and her staff have such a strong commitment to community and the youth they work with.”
Youth in the program are trained in mental-health first aid, suicide intervention training, non-violent crisis intervention, first aid, and healthy relationships.
Funding will also assist in the hiring of two outreach and support workers, including an Indigenous support worker, to help provide wraparound support to youth experiencing multiple barriers. These wraparound supports include accompaniment to appointments, service navigation, and crisis, suicide, sexual and criminal exploitation prevention and intervention.
Quotes: The Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Society would like to acknowledge the Province's commitment to ensuring that marginalized youth are not forgotten. The work of POSSE is one of the many programs and services the province has supported, and we are deeply thankful for the ongoing support for such programs.Pamela Glode-Desrochers, Executive Director, Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Society
This funding is a much-needed response to the mental health crisis and substance use challenges youth are experiencing, especially in rural Nova Scotia. Through this funding support, POSSE will increase the capacity of youth to support their peers in crisis. Peer outreach is a recognized best practice in prevention and early intervention strategies for harder to reach populations. Kimm Kent, co-founder, Project Executive, POSSE The POSSE Project provides at-risk youth with a safe space to talk and to feel their emotions. I started as a volunteer with the POSSE project three years ago. POSSE has given me the gift of community and a sense of belonging. The skills I have learned helped me help my peers through hardship, and support friends who are experiencing homelessness, or who use substances, and prevent substance poisonings. I am now employed full time as an Indigenous outreach support worker. I cannot put into words the way POSSE changed my life for the good. To be able to provide youth with the same experience I had is an honour.Mallory Hookey, Indigenous outreach support worker and former POSSE Project youth participant
POSSE Project operates in the communities of Sipekne’katik First Nation and area, Lower Sackville area, and Windsor-West Hants
the program provides training, support and street level outreach – meeting youth where they are at, without judgement
Additional Resources: Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Society: https://mymnfc.com/ POSSE Project: https://www.posseproject.ca/about Province of Nova Scotia mental health and addictions programs and services: https://novascotia.ca/dhw/mental-health/ Nova Scotia Health Authority mental health and addictions services: https://mha.nshealth.ca/en IWK Health Centre mental health and addictions services: http://www.iwk.nshealth.ca/mental-health -30- Follow us
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