The Strength of a National Community


Article written by: Jenn Cusick

A couple months ago I met a former colleague for lunch at a local coffee shop.

As we were munching our delicious quiches and sipping coffee, I mentioned that I was now doing some work with PSR Canada. 

She told me a story about something amazingly life-changing that happened for her involving PSR Canada many years ago. When she was finished, I exclaimed "can I share your story on the website!?" 

Her story inspired me to think about the role PSR/RPS Canada has in linking organizations with PSR Champions nationally. 

Of course she said "yes" that I could share her story, so here it goes...

Jennifer Gagne was living in Ontario. She was working for an organization that provided recovery services for people struggling with mental health issues. She discovered PSR and the significant impact the Principles and Values have on creating recovery-oriented services.

So she went all in.  

She got her CPRP certification through the US (today you don't have to go through the US, because PSR Canada now offers a Canadian version, the CPRRP–Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Recovery Practitioner certification), and started volunteering with PSR Canada. She collected articles from organizations across Canada and put them together in a newsletter. 

In the fall of 2005, an article was submitted for the newsletter by an organization in BC.

Peter Andres (who was the Regional Manager for Communitas Supportive Care Services at that time), wrote about their Peer Support and WRAP programs. The program was one of the first to embed formal Peer and WRAP services into mental health services in their area. The programs were having significant growth and impact. 

The way he described the services intrigued Jennifer, so she looked up the organization's website. 

She was so impressed with the recovery services they were providing, that she filled out an online job application. (The organization was a big supporter of PSR/RPS Canada, so the connection with PSR was significant.) 

Following a video conference interview, Jennifer was hired! In June of 2006, she moved to BC and started her new job... and she has been there ever since.

Jennifer actually took over the job I was doing after I left to have my youngest child. I was managing the Peer & WRAP programs there, and was so happy to pass the torch to Jennifer when I left. 

That brings us to today. PSR/RPS Canada sees our role as connecting organizations and PSR Practitioners together. 

Canada is a huge country, but one of the amazing things about modern technology is that we have the ability to feel like an intimate community despite the grand size of our country. That is our goal! 

Currently we have a roster of CPRRP Practitioners.

We also have our Organizational Members listed on our website. 

We have some other ideas on how we can facilitate connections like the one Jennifer shared with me. 

  • We would like to accept & publish articles from outstanding agencies practicing PSR and recovery-oriented service. We will work with you to create and publish an article. We would love to hear the ways you are integrating the PSR Principles and Values into your work. We would like you to share some tips so that others can learn from your experience. 
  • We would like to publish articles from PSR practitioners who are championing the work of PSR. Stories of success are so inspiring, and we would love to publish them here. 
  • We want to create a very basic job bank. This would be a place where PSR Organizational Members can post job vacancies. For organizations who are looking for PSR Champions, this would be invaluable. 

If you wish to submit an article, please click the button below for more information. 

If you are with an organization interesting in the possibility of posting on a future job board, please send us an email.