Peer & Trauma Support Systems

“I am so happy to have been a part of the Peer and Trauma Support Systems (P.A.T.S.S.) course last month! This evidence based 17 module course developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, was filled with interactive and educational components which provided me with a much more solid understanding of how to be an effective and compassionate peer supporter. Syd Gravel, Brad McKay, and many other amazing professionals made the course content relevant and so memorable. I left knowing that I was bringing exceptional material back to my employer and felt proud to say that I was a participant amongst so many experienced and passionate peers.”

Natalie Harris, Advanced Care Paramedic BHSc, AEMCA, ACP

This workshop could not have exceeded my expectations more. I recommend this training to anyone considering establishing a peer support resource.

Alirio Ferreira, TTC, Montreal

Excellent course for anyone doing peer support

Cheri Robertson, EMS, Renfrew County

I have learned SO much outstanding information. Thank you so much to Syd and Brad for hosting this incredible workshop.

The Phoenix Canine Initiative

If you’re involved in or looking to be involved in Peer Support, take this course. This is better than Mental Health First Aid

Lars Romeskie, EMS, Renfrew County

This course is a must for anyone trying to develop a peer support program.

Brad Dodd, London Fire Department

Highly recommended for any organization, first response or otherwise, building and implementing a peer support structure.

Jonathan Woodbeck, Peer Support and Wellness Coordinator, , Superior North, EMS.

This course was invaluable to increase my understanding and confidence in starting and implementing a high-quality peer support group to meet my community’s unique needs.

Sara Dodd, R.N.

This was such a great course! You guys are amazing

Robin Wright, Advanced Care Paramedic, Wings of Change Peer Support Facilitator (Ottawa)

The brightest and best! Well done, Gentlemen. Making it safer and saner by the workshop.

Bruce Sokolove, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Best peer support training.. ever!!

Bruce Hecker, Ornge

I had an amazing time at the course and learned lots on how to support myself and others. 

Peer Support Trainee

The training was powerful, practical and extensive.  I have truly been inspired by you both and your commitment to first responders by starting to fill the chasm where operational stress injuries currently exist. 

Peer Support Trainee

I deeply respect the work that you both do and it is clear that your higher purpose in this serving and leadership role is your passion.

Peer Support Trainee

I would love to stay in touch and lend my support to you both as you expand awareness, education and services in the world of OSI and peer support.

Peer Support Trainee

Thank you again for sharing your knowledge, experiences, wisdom and passion with us during the course. 

Peer Support Trainee

It was a wonderful course. As I mentioned to Brad it was engaging, fun, informative and inspiring.

Peer Support Trainee

With the very most heartfelt appreciation for the opportunity to be a part of the outstanding class that you and Brother Brad presented; the take-aways are immeasurable.

Peer Support Trainee

These two days were a great experience and networking for our own Peer Support Group

Peer Support Trainee

First off thank you again for the great peer support course this past week I thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt a lot.

Peer Support Trainee

Peer & Trauma Support Systems News

Peer & Trauma Support Systems Workshops

True Patriot Love – Peer Support Training:

Training Location Training Date Registration
Toronto (Sharon) March 28 – 29, 2019 CLICK HERE
October 10 – 11, 2019 CLICK HERE
Edmonton April 17 & 18, 2019 CLICK HERE
Date 2 CLICK HERE
Montreal April 25 and 26 from 9am-4pm. CLICK HERE (Français seulement)
Date 2 CLICK HERE

Peer Support Training:

Training Location Training Date Registration
Toronto (Sharon) April 25 – 26, 2019 CLICK HERE
Sept 27 – 28, 2019 CLICK HERE
Ottawa (Fitzroy Harbour) Oct 17 – 18, 2019 CLICK HERE
Meet the Peer & Trauma Support Team
Support the Peer & Trauma Support Team

“Walk the Talk” is now available for pre-order

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PATSS Intranet

As you know, there is no substitute for being among people who are going through the same things as you are. In response to the need for peer support, The Mood Disorders Society of Canada has developed a team of incredible people with years of lived experience, peer support and mental health professionals experienced in addressing trauma.

With guidance and advice from the Peer and Trauma Support Systems Team, organizations can meet their needs for Trauma Support, Peer Selection, Training and Development within the workplace.

As part of the development of support systems they can also assist organizations address the building of resilience for trauma and the de-stigmatization of mental illness and also develop techniques for your management of both formal and informal peer groups.

Our advisors can offer your organization two options in how to approach these objectives:

1. They can work with your local professional resources, either internally or externally or both, who can then take the lead,

2. Or they can work as the stand-alone team to help lead your organization.

Also, it is important to note that the Team recognizes that each organization and community has their own dynamics and history, so their approach to working with an organization , though based on a solid foundation of best practices, does include customizing their work to respect the organizational or community needs.

The development of Trauma Support Systems requires step by step work with the organizational Leads, which we offer, then our specific area of expertise leads into the development of peer support services, which involves three basic steps.

1. Selection of Peers using a four step process:
• Identification of peers who agree to participate as nominated by peers
• Peer Interview to validate suitability
• Psychological testing and interview, to ensure wellness to perform peer support and that they are in a positive growth stage in their lived experience. (This can either be provided by a local psychologist or the use of our own MDSC Peer Support Team Psychologist)
• Meeting the organizational needs, taking into account where they live, where they work and their lived experience.

2. Training of Peers using the Mood Disorders Society of Canada 2 – Day Peer Support Training program.

The curriculum that we use was formatted based on the, “Guidelines for the Practice and Training of Peer Support” first published by the Mental Health Commission in February,

2014, and the product of tried and true processes that can be adjusted to meet your organizational needs and has been reviewed and approved by the MDSC Board of Directors and Peer Support Services Advisors.

3. The Development of Peer Teams. It is also well known that no one model of peer support will do all that can be required within an organization. Formal groups, with rules and guidelines, can include informal groups that can be built within the formal structure. Both formal group peers and informal group peers follow the same guidelines and rules and are both managed by the formal peer group manager, though it is more unstructured for the informal group. The only difference would be that those peers who are recognized as part of the informal group would be called upon to respond ad hoc, to the needs of a member who is refusing to accept the support of the formal group.

We also provide advice and services in the management of and training in:

4. Developing awareness and resilience to trauma workshops for members and their families

5. De-stigmatization of Mental Illness

6. Family Awareness and Information Events

7. Assisting your organization to effectively assess and address the 13 psychosocial factors to develop comprehensive strategies for ensuring a psychologically safe workplace regardless of how large or small, or whether in the public or private sector.

8. Implementing Mental Health and Safety practices within the Workplace.

We look forward to working with you further. Should you have any further questions please feel free to contact either:

Sylvio (Syd) A Gravel, M.O.M.
Staff Sergeant (ret’d.), Ottawa Police Service,
Team Lead, Peer and Trauma Support Systems, Mood Disorders Society of Canada, at www.mdsc.ca
Author of:“56 Seconds” & “How to Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support” At: www.56secondsbook.com
Senior Advisor at: www.badgeoflifecanada.com
P.O. Box 63 Fitzroy Harbour, Ontario, Canada, K0A 1X0 (613) 623-4151

Brad McKay, CTSS
Staff Sergeant (ret’d.), York Regional Police,
Team Lead, Peer and Trauma Support Systems, Mood Disorders Society of Canada
York Region CISM Team Alumni Lead and Advisor to the Executive, at www.yorkcism.com
Advisor to the Board, The Tema Conter Memorial Trust, at www.tema.ca
Volunteer Peer Supporter, York Regional Police Peer Support Team, at www.yrp.ca
Director 228 Solutions Inc. brad228solutions@gmail.com (647) 963-9228

Lundbeck Canada Logo With grateful appreciation we wish to acknowledge Lundbeck Canada Inc. and their support in the development of this website.

“I am so happy to have been a part of the Peer and Trauma Support Systems (P.A.T.S.S.) course last month! This evidence based 17 module course developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, was filled with interactive and educational components which provided me with a much more solid understanding of how to be an effective and compassionate peer supporter. Syd Gravel, Brad McKay, and many other amazing professionals made the course content relevant and so memorable. I left knowing that I was bringing exceptional material back to my employer and felt proud to say that I was a participant amongst so many experienced and passionate peers.”

Natalie Harris, Advanced Care Paramedic BHSc, AEMCA, ACP

This workshop could not have exceeded my expectations more. I recommend this training to anyone considering establishing a peer support resource.

Alirio Ferreira, TTC, Montreal

Excellent course for anyone doing peer support

Cheri Robertson, EMS, Renfrew County

I have learned SO much outstanding information. Thank you so much to Syd and Brad for hosting this incredible workshop.

The Phoenix Canine Initiative

If you’re involved in or looking to be involved in Peer Support, take this course. This is better than Mental Health First Aid

Lars Romeskie, EMS, Renfrew County

This course is a must for anyone trying to develop a peer support program.

Brad Dodd, London Fire Department

Highly recommended for any organization, first response or otherwise, building and implementing a peer support structure.

Jonathan Woodbeck, Peer Support and Wellness Coordinator, , Superior North, EMS.

This course was invaluable to increase my understanding and confidence in starting and implementing a high-quality peer support group to meet my community’s unique needs.

Sara Dodd, R.N.

This was such a great course! You guys are amazing

Robin Wright, Advanced Care Paramedic, Wings of Change Peer Support Facilitator (Ottawa)

The brightest and best! Well done, Gentlemen. Making it safer and saner by the workshop.

Bruce Sokolove, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Best peer support training.. ever!!

Bruce Hecker, Ornge

I had an amazing time at the course and learned lots on how to support myself and others. 

Peer Support Trainee

The training was powerful, practical and extensive.  I have truly been inspired by you both and your commitment to first responders by starting to fill the chasm where operational stress injuries currently exist. 

Peer Support Trainee

I deeply respect the work that you both do and it is clear that your higher purpose in this serving and leadership role is your passion.

Peer Support Trainee

I would love to stay in touch and lend my support to you both as you expand awareness, education and services in the world of OSI and peer support.

Peer Support Trainee

Thank you again for sharing your knowledge, experiences, wisdom and passion with us during the course. 

Peer Support Trainee

It was a wonderful course. As I mentioned to Brad it was engaging, fun, informative and inspiring.

Peer Support Trainee

With the very most heartfelt appreciation for the opportunity to be a part of the outstanding class that you and Brother Brad presented; the take-aways are immeasurable.

Peer Support Trainee

These two days were a great experience and networking for our own Peer Support Group

Peer Support Trainee

First off thank you again for the great peer support course this past week I thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt a lot.

Peer Support Trainee