Become a Peer

Do you want to share your story of recovery? Would you like to help others by sharing your experience? We are always searching for individuals and family members from diverse backgrounds to be a part of our Peer Support movement.

CMHA Calgary’s School of Peer Support provides a unique opportunity for people who have a lived history with a mental health or substance use challenge to use their experience to support their community and make a difference. We provide 83 hours of training, 50 hours of unpaid practicum experience, and opportunities to connect with the Peer Supporter Community of Practice. Training is free of cost, but individuals must apply and undergo an interview process before being accepted into the program.

Qualifications and Skills Required

  • Lived experience of being on a personal recovery journey or experience in supporting a family member or loved one on a recovery journey;
  • Comfort level sharing your story of recovery with others;
  • Availability to complete 83 hours of training and a 50-hour unpaid internship;
  • Familiarity with Peer Support and a deep commitment to and understanding of the recovery model.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When will applications open?

    Applications for the 2022 – 2023 School of Peer Support will open June 27, 2022, and will remain open until July 27, 2022. The interview process will begin in August 2022, with the final selection and notification of students to be made in September 2022.

  • What is the process to apply for the School of Peer Support?

    When applications open, the first step will be to apply through the School of Peer Support Pre-Evaluation Application link. This is a series of questions used to determine which applicants will be invited for an interview. Please do not send applications via email, over the phone, or in person. For those applicants selected, interviews will be conducted and a final selection of candidates will be invited to participate in the School of Peer Support program.

  • Can I apply for the School of Peer Support if I don’t live in Calgary?

    Yes! We will consider applications from out-of-town students who live within Alberta. Please keep in mind for the practicum placement of out-of-town students, there will be an expectation that the student takes an active role in seeking out an agency for placement. Out-of-town students will attend classes virtually; there will be one student cohort which will accommodate virtual delivery.

  • When will classes start?

    We are still finalizing the schedule, but we expect classes to begin in October 2022 and commence in June 2023. Practicums will begin in June 2023.

  • Will classes be virtual or in-person?

    We plan to deliver classes for the 2022 – 2023 semester of the School of Peer Support in both in-person and virtual formats. Please note that there will not be a hybrid model; there will be classes which are dedicated in-person delivery, and classes which are dedicated virtual delivery. All students who are accepted into the program will be assigned to a specific cohort with a single mode of delivery.

  • What is the time commitment? Do I need to attend all of the sessions to graduate?

    The School of Peer Support program includes 83 hours of theory and 50 hours of unpaid practicum. Theory sessions are scheduled weekly and are generally three hours in duration. Additionally, there will be orientations that are full-day commitments. In order to graduate, you must attend a minimum of 75% of the theory sessions (including orientations) and 100% of the practicum requirement. A student may not miss more than one session per module, to a maximum of four sessions in total.

  • Where will I complete my practicum? Will I be paid for my practicum?

    The 50 hours of practicum are to be completed as an unpaid internship. It is important to understand this before applying, as it is a long-term commitment. For your practicum placement, you will work together with the School of Peer Support Team Lead to determine the organization (CMHA Calgary or an external partner organization) that best fits your interests, availability and unique skillset as a Peer Support Worker.

  • Will I be guaranteed work after I graduate from the program?

    We cannot guarantee that all graduates of the School of Peer Support will be employed upon completing the program. However, taking part in our program is likely to increase the chances of employment in Peer Support roles, as well as create a network of connections with fellow Peer Support Workers through classroom, community of practice, and practicum experience.

  • What if I have more questions about The School of Peer Support?