What is peer support?

We’d love to tell you! Peer support connects people who have similar lived experiences. With our grief support programs, that means bringing folks together who have experienced the death of someone in their lives.

“But how does it work?”

Through either an eight-week program or a monthly drop-in, you spend time in a group format with others who are also grieving.

You learn about grief, have a caring space to talk about the person who died and share strategies that have (or haven’t) helped you. It’s dedicated time and space to focus on your grief with others who get it.

“You mean, I have to share with strangers?”

We know it might sound scary to share with people you don’t know. We have amazing, trained peer support group leaders who will make you feel at ease. And don’t forget, you are with a group of people who can relate to what you’re going through. Their loss might not be the same, but grief is the common thread that connects you. You don’t have to be alone in grief.

“So, is this counselling then?”

No, there is a difference between counselling/therapy and peer support. Our groups are led by trained volunteers who have a similar lived experience

Counsellors and therapists draw on knowledge and theories of grief. They rarely disclose personal experiences of grief, even when they have similar ones.

One type of support isn’t better than the other – they offer different benefits and are often complementary. If you feel a therapist or clinician may be a better support for you, contact us and we can help you find one.

“What if I give peer support a try and decide it’s not for me?”

That’s okay. We know that peer support isn’t for everyone. Sometimes people aren’t ready to share their story and also be in a place where they can hear others’. Our team can help you find other support options if that’s the case.

“How much does it cost?”

All of our programs are free. We don’t want cost to be a barrier for anyone looking for support.

“How do I sign up?”

Learn more and find a program that fits your needs. You’ll be asked to fill out a registration form so we can gather some more information about you and your experience. Some of our programs also involve a meeting (virtually or over the phone) with our Program Coordinator.

Not sure what you need? Call our office at 519-603-0196 or email support@bfomidwest.org. We’re here to help.

Benefits of peer support in grief

  1. It brings people together with the shared experience of loss, fostering a sense of connection and understanding.
  2. It validates and empowers. It’s powerful being with others and acknowledging they have similar thoughts, feelings, fears and hopes.  
  3. It creates or expands communities of support by creating a space where multiple individuals contribute to each other’s learning and growth.
  4. It provides unique, outside perspectives that you may not get from friends, family or communities with whom you identify.
  5. It provides a non-judgemental space where people can share their grief experience without shame, fear or stigma.
  6. It can make grief feel less lonely and isolating knowing there are others who understand.
  7. It can build connections, relationships and circles of support that last long after groups end.