What is Peer Support?

Peer support refers to help and assistance that is given to you by someone like you.  A contemporary – someone who shares a similar set of experiences.  In this case, it means someone who is also bereaved. Peers are not professionally trained counsellors or therapists, they are people like you who have experienced a death in their family and are on a similar journey of “learning to live with” their grief.  They have become masters of their own grief and they can provide you with information, experiential knowledge and support that is gained through their lived experience of being similarly bereaved.

Peer support groups are safe and supportive spaces to be in grief, to share and to listen.

I’m not a religious person, but I would call it sacred.  It was a sacred place.”
BFO Ottawa Peer Support Group participant

They are places where those who’ve experienced a loss can connect with others who’ve experienced a similar loss.

I can come here and ask questions I could never ask anyone else – knowing someone in there probably experienced it.”
BFO Ottawa Peer Support Group participant

Peers help reduce the isolation that many people experience in grief and provide hope that healing is possible.

There was a lifting of a burden, lifting of isolation, and a gut-level understanding that these people knew how it felt.  That was very emancipating.
BFO Ottawa Peer Group participant

Our peer support groups are facilitated by trained volunteers who’ve lost a loved-one and want to help others heal.  As one support group member describes her experience:

 While it may have felt intimidating to start, I could have done with 2-4 more sessions.  It was an amazing experience and journey into myself; a springboard to awareness, growth and optimism.”
Participant in 10 wk BFO Ottawa Loss by Suicide Group

BFO Ottawa programs are inclusive of all people and open to everyone in the community.