Funding cuts forced clients of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in Edmonton to run a program on their own.

When the provincial government cut funding for the centre’s recovery program last September, seven staff members lost their jobs.

The CMHA wanted to keep the programs running so they asked clients like Alex Riquelme to be trained as volunteer peer leaders.

Riquelme handed in her resignation this week. She said the stress has become too much to handle.

"It's not working out you know," she said. "They need paid staff to be doing these jobs."

Andrew Altimas, another peer leader, says that the program is much less expensive than a hospital stay.

"They keep people out of the hospital," he said. "That's why you have these programs. To keep people out of the hospital."

Ione Challborn from the CMHA in Edmonton wishes her organization could still run the workshop.

"The service that people had and need...they are not finding that service elsewhere," she said. "It breaks my heart."

According to Alberta Health Services, money cut from the program last fall was used for other mental health programs in the city.

Mark Snaterse, executive director, addiction and mental health for Alberta Health Services, says he’s willing to talk to anyone who feels that they’ve lost access to a program and find them new avenues for help.

With files from the CBC's Marion Warnica