Sudbury

Sudbury's Northern Initiative for Social Action looking for peer support workers

An agency run for — and by — people living with mental illness is hiring peer workers to get out into the community.
A social agency in Sudbury is enabling peer workers to travel more widely in the city to help clients living with mental illness. A peer worker is someone who also lives with mental illness and can provide knowledgeable support. (www.ihcproviders.com)

An agency run for — and by — people living with mental illness is hiring peer workers to get out into the community.

The Northern Initiative for Social Action, or NISA, reports the six jobs were once stationary, but now they're mobile, enabling peer workers to get out to meet clients in the field.

NISA's Executive Director Shana Calixte said it can be hard to find the right people for the job.

"These jobs aren't necessarily as higher paid as other mental health jobs out there and so, unfortunately, we are working on that," she said.

"We are gaining a little bit more traction in communities to recognize how valuable these positions are."

Calixte said peer support workers are those who have had experience with mental illness and can relate to the clients and their challenges.

"The kind of work we do is not to advocate for people, but help people self-advocate," she said.

"It's walking with somebody, walking beside somebody … [and] providing support where people want it."

Calixte said the city proper is their territory, although she is working on being able to provide support in areas such as Chelmsford.

The new jobs are posted on NISA's website.

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