Rising Together is a peer community for supportive, empathetic conversations about the things that impact our mental health.
Peer support groups are engaging spaces for sharing and gaining insight into your emotions and experiences, learning coping strategies and skills, and creating connections with others as they share feelings surrounding their mental health.
Peer support is a supportive, empowering relationship between people with shared experiences of mental health, focused on holistic well-being, recovery, and hope.
Peer support facilitators are individuals in a place of wellness within their own mental health journey, trained to provide support, inspire hope and self-worth.
Rising Together Youth Participant
Our peer support groups aim to improve the overall mental well-being of youth by offering a supportive space to talk about the things that impact our mental health.
Groups are formed by a community of peers who actively participate in providing one another with non-judgemental and active listening, emotional support, and empowerment in exploring individual paths to wellness.
Each peer support session is led by 2 trained facilitators whose role it is to create an open, welcoming space for group participants to interact with one another while they learn coping strategies, gain insight into their own feelings and experiences, and give and receive support and encouragement.
Eligible group participants will receive a $15 President's Choice gift card honorarium in recognition of the time dedicated to be a part of this program.
Rising Together peer support groups are open to young people aged 16-24 years old, who live within Canada.
While the group name includes the words “Depression & Anxiety”, participants do not need to have any particular diagnosis or specific mental health experience to attend.
Peer support groups are open to everyone, no referrals are needed.
Participants are welcome to join 1 peer support session per week (Tuesday OR Saturday). Due to limited group space, participants are required to register for each session in advance.
To foster group safety and community, all peer support participants are required to enable cameras during the session. Participants are asked to introduce themselves during the group check-in, and to check-out before the end of the session.
In peer support, everyone plays a role and contributes to a safe and caring group environment. While it can feel vulnerable to engage in a group setting, members are expected to be active and present with their peers.
During the group, everyone is encouraged to participate and interact in a way that is most comfortable, and facilitators are there to guide you every step of the way.
Below you can find some resources to support and guide your participation in Rising Together groups.
At the beginning of each group, facilitators will welcome all the group participants and start the group by leading a brief introduction and group check-in. Together, the group will create a list of guidelines, or items which will help contribute to feelings of comfort and safety. Afterwards, participants are invited to share what’s on their mind, receive support from the group and create connections with their peers. During these discussions, the group might also take some time to explore resources, activities, or skills which nurture mental well-being and care.
Peer support is all about building empathetic, supportive, and encouraging relationships, and a big part is creating connections and building community with others. But we know that when it comes to talking about our mental health, it isn't always easy. In Rising Together, you're not alone and our team is there to guide you each step of the way.
Before you join a Rising Together group, we're here to help you learn and explore the many ways we can all make connecting with one another in an online group comfortable, safe, and welcoming.
Having cameras on supports the safety of both facilitators, and group participants.
With our cameras turned on, we’re able to see and know who we’re sharing with. This added layer of human connection can contribute to feelings of safety and trust.
When we feel safe, we're better able to connect with a sense of belonging and community.
A big role of the facilitators is to ensure the safety of the group. By seeing the group members, Rising Together facilitators are able to better support the feelings and comfort of everyone in the group.
Part of healing through peer support is through being seen and knowing that others are there with you.
When participants are engaged with the group discussion and other members it contributes to a positive peer support experience.
With our cameras on, we add another aspect of engagement to the group and may feel less isolated from one another. We create stronger relationships and bonds when we're able to put a face to a name!
When we’re having conversations, so much of our communication is through body language and facial expressions! It's an important way to validate and support one another.
All participants are better able to pick up on and respond to these nonverbal cues, leading to better overall rapport, and more effective peer support.
With nonverbal communication, it helps both the facilitators, and your peers, to be able to see others respond and actively listen when sharing, especially when discussing sometimes emotional or vulnerable things.
Rising Together groups are led by trained peer support facilitators who have living or lived experience of navigating their own mental health challenges, and who are now in a position of wellness to contribute towards supporting others. Having been through a recovery journey themselves, peer support facilitators are able to inspire hope and self-worth as they assist others.
Rising Together facilitators have completed a 32-hour training course and engage in regular team meetings where they build skills, and continue training which covers the principles of peer support, empathetic communication, active listening and so much more.
During group conversations, facilitators will ask questions and guide the discussion. They’re there to help participants navigate conversations with one another, and to ensure that the group environment is safe, welcoming, and supportive for everyone.
Alesia is a mental health advocate born in Toronto, Ontario. Her lived experience has given her insight into the importance of mental health and wellness which has motivated her to support others in recover from mental illness and reaching their highest potential. She strongly believes that everyone, no matter their circumstances or age,
Alesia is a mental health advocate born in Toronto, Ontario. Her lived experience has given her insight into the importance of mental health and wellness which has motivated her to support others in recover from mental illness and reaching their highest potential. She strongly believes that everyone, no matter their circumstances or age, should have access to mental health support. She stands with all those who have been impacted by mental illness and believes that reaching out for help is a sign of great strength. In her spare time, Alesia loves to go for long walks in nature, workout, watch films with a cup of tea, read, and cuddle with her cat, Nyra.
Asiyah is a passionate and outspoken resident of East Toronto with a strong community-oriented mindset. She brings to the table lived experiences as a Black Muslim woman navigating the pressures of larger society and cultural norms. Asiyah is guided by a personal philosophy that prioritizes mental health and wellbeing and she is committed
Asiyah is a passionate and outspoken resident of East Toronto with a strong community-oriented mindset. She brings to the table lived experiences as a Black Muslim woman navigating the pressures of larger society and cultural norms. Asiyah is guided by a personal philosophy that prioritizes mental health and wellbeing and she is committed to the mutual growth of herself and those she interacts with. She has a passion for mental health and a desire to pursue new approaches to youth peer support with a specialized focus on marginalized populations. In her free time, Asiyah enjoys spending time outdoors with loved ones, attending her mixed martial arts sessions, and knitting/crocheting while watching reruns of The Office.
Lela is committed to creating a safe environment and taking a person-centered approach to well-being. She focuses on ensuring people feel heard, and are involved in decision-making, to effectively develop inclusive supports that respond to unique needs and values. She is passionate about creating barrier-free resources and encouraging equ
Lela is committed to creating a safe environment and taking a person-centered approach to well-being. She focuses on ensuring people feel heard, and are involved in decision-making, to effectively develop inclusive supports that respond to unique needs and values. She is passionate about creating barrier-free resources and encouraging equality between physical and mental health. Lela strongly believes in the power of kindness and aims to spread love and respect to whoever she crosses paths with. Outside of her work with Youth Rising Above, Lela enjoys listening to music, baking and exploring new hiking trails.
Olivia is an enthusiastic and optimistic young adult with an ambition to give back to disadvantaged communities. Growing up with a brother on the autism spectrum, as well as experiencing her own mental obstacles, Olivia saw the imperative need for accessible mental health resources for youth and decided to dedicate her life to advocating
Olivia is an enthusiastic and optimistic young adult with an ambition to give back to disadvantaged communities. Growing up with a brother on the autism spectrum, as well as experiencing her own mental obstacles, Olivia saw the imperative need for accessible mental health resources for youth and decided to dedicate her life to advocating and providing these resources. Her natural optimism and joy for life have fueled her to create a healthier and happier life for herself as she faces her anxiety every day, and she now strives to spread her joy, hope, and aid to the youth who need it the most. When she is not advocating for mental health resources, she is spending time with her loved ones, practicing self-care, and watching a sitcom that’ll make her laugh.
Rebecca is a life-long learner, and inspired by the power of creating and embracing community. She is committed to a journey of love and understanding with herself and others, and to ensuring no one feels forced to walk their journey with mental health alone. Shortly after her experiences with mental illness, she became a strong advocate
Rebecca is a life-long learner, and inspired by the power of creating and embracing community. She is committed to a journey of love and understanding with herself and others, and to ensuring no one feels forced to walk their journey with mental health alone. Shortly after her experiences with mental illness, she became a strong advocate for creating accessible and appropriate supports for young people to feel heard, valued and seen in all they are, and she is passionate about challenging the stigma surrounding mental health. In her spare time, you can find her cuddled up with a good book, practicing self-care, watching the same show for the 4th time, learning ASL, or trying a new crafty hobby
BIO COMING SOON
Theresa is dedicated to creating safe spaces for young people to have meaningful, introspective conversations as they grow in self-discovery, self- acceptance, and self-expression. She has spent years providing professional mentorship and guidance to younger folks and is passionate about creating open dialogue about mental health and less
Theresa is dedicated to creating safe spaces for young people to have meaningful, introspective conversations as they grow in self-discovery, self- acceptance, and self-expression. She has spent years providing professional mentorship and guidance to younger folks and is passionate about creating open dialogue about mental health and lessening the stigma around mental health challenges. She is continually striving to learn and understand her feelings and emotions deeply, and finds great purpose in helping others do the same. In her spare time, she enjoys long walks in nature, cooking, reading, watching movies, and snuggling with her two cats.
Toni was born and raised on the east side of Toronto in Flemingdon Park, where she credits her resiliency and determination to (1) her cultural upbringing and (2) youth programs she was involved in growing up. Mentors she had during these support groups were especially helpful during tough times during her life. Being a part of Rising Abo
Toni was born and raised on the east side of Toronto in Flemingdon Park, where she credits her resiliency and determination to (1) her cultural upbringing and (2) youth programs she was involved in growing up. Mentors she had during these support groups were especially helpful during tough times during her life. Being a part of Rising Above is special for her as she wishes to support youth in any capacity she can. She is particularly passionate about supporting BIPOC, first generation/immigrant, and LGBTQ2S+ youth. During her free time, Toni enjoys playing with her cat, sports, singing, and playing cozy video games like animal crossing.
Yes, we require that all participants are able to have their camera on during the entirety of the peer support session.
We know that it’s not always possible to have access to a working camera, and that due to diverse abilities, having a camera on for the entire group may pose barriers or challenges. If having your camera on during the group is not possible or does not support your ability to participate, please indicate this during group registration.
If before joining a group you'd like to discuss accommodations disclosed during registration, or any additional learning or accessibility-related needs, please reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org before your session.
For resources or tips on how we can all make our peer support experience safe and comfortable, please see our webpage, “Building community through Rising Together”.
All groups will begin at the stated start time (Tuesday - 6:30 pm ET, Saturday - 1:00 pm ET). Participants will only be able to join the group within the first 10 minutes of the session.
This is to ensure that all participants are present to review group guidelines, and check-in together in an effort to create group comfort and safety, and to minimize disruptions to the flow of the group.
An accommodation is a change that is made so that a person with a disability is able to fully participate.
Rising Together believes in creating inclusive, accessible, and barrier free spaces for all youth. Each group, the facilitators will enable the live transcription to provide participants with the option to have closed captions during the session. During the group registration process, youth are invited to share any additional learning or accessibility accommodations which would support their participation in the Rising Together program.
We will always make every effort to meet accommodation requests, including but not limited to:
During the registration process, you will have the opportunity to share any learning and accessibility-related needs with our team. Participants are always welcome to reach out to us to chat more about accommodations or learning needs, however we do ask that you do so before joining a peer support session, as group facilitators may not be able to make accessibility-related changes once the group has begun.
Your safety and privacy is important to us and our team takes every step we can to protect the privacy of our participants. However, because Rising Together is hosted within an online setting, we cannot guarantee this. When joining our groups, it’s important that group members understand and know this.
We kindly ask that all group members join us in taking steps to ensure our own, and our peer’s safety. To do this, participants are asked to do their best to find a private space when joining group sessions, and to refrain from recording any part of the session. As part of our group guidelines, participants are expected to maintain group confidentiality (privacy) and trust by not revealing, or passing on, anything shared during the group, outside of the group.
If you have any questions about privacy, please feel free to reach our team member Rebecca (she/her) at email@example.com.
Participants who attend and actively participate in the full 2-hour peer support sessions are eligible to receive a $15 President’s Choice gift card as an honorarium for your time and presence. To be eligible, participants are required to check-in with their peers (or the facilitators) at the beginning of the session, and demonstrate their active participation by having their camera on during the group.
If for any reason you are only able to attend the first half of the group, participants would receive a gift card of a reduced amount ($10). Participants who attend for less than 1 hour are ineligible to receive a gift card honorarium.
Unfortunately, gift card alternatives are not available for Rising Together participants, outside of a small number of extenuating, unavoidable circumstances. Because of limited resources, we are not able to provide alternatives to everyone based on preference.
If you have any additional questions or any concerns about gift cards, please reach out to Ivana (she/her) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peer support is one type of resource along the spectrum of mental health care. At the core of peer support, is the shared experience of mental health between individuals, which may not always be the case when working with a mental health professional.
Peer support is considered a non-clinical support, and is not based on psychiatric models or diagnostic criteria. Importantly, in peer support there is a relationship of equal power, meaning that there is no expert/patient relationship and each individual is seen as an expert in their own experiences and life.
Peer support comes in many forms, including through formal group sessions, and it can take place in various settings. For more information about peer support, check out this short video, “Youth Peer Support 101”.
Our team is happy to help you with any questions or concerns related to Rising Together.
For questions about
Contact Rising Together assistant Ivana (she/her) at email@example.com.
For all other concerns, please reach out to Rebecca (she/her), Rising Together Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that our Peer Support Groups are NOT a crisis service. In the event you need urgent or immediate care, please contact one of following help-lines, or if it feels safe, call 911:
Rising Together is delivered in partnership with Hope+Me Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, a reputable and long established peer mental health services organization. Our peer services are closely monitored by them to ensure quality care, along with the ongoing training and development of our Peer Support Facilitators.
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