Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Question: What is a CSI?

    A: CSI stands for consumer/survivor initiative. A CSI is a community organization run by and for people who have lived experience with the mental health system. They operate on the principles of recovery by providing self-help and peer support, and also operate businesses using the community economic development model.

  • OPDI Definition of Peer Support

    A: OPDI defines peer support as follows:
    Peer Support is a naturally occurring, mutually beneficial support process, where people who share a common experience meet as equals, sharing skills, strengths and hope; learning from each other how to cope, thrive and flourish.

    Formalized Peer Support begins when persons with lived experience who have received specialized training, assume unique, designated roles within the mental health system, to support an individual’s expressed wishes. 

    Specialized Peer Support training is Peer developed, delivered and endorsed by Consumer/Survivor Initiatives*, Peer Support Organizations* and Patient Councils, and is rooted in principles of recovery, hope and individual empowerment.

    * Consumer Survivor Initiatives and Peer Support Organizations are community-based, self-help organizations run by and for consumer/survivors

    Note: This definition of peer support was developed through the focus group/workshop/piloting process of creating the OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials™ Program.  A draft was workshopped in a member consultation in 2010, further refined by a member working group, then adopted by electronic vote of the membership.  We welcome and encourage you to use or reference this definition or provide links to this page, providing that OPDI is credited and the definition is provided unedited and in its entirety.


Stronger peer groups make for a stronger system

To deliver person-directed care within a person-centred mental health system, consumers must be involved in every aspect of service planning, delivery and evaluation. Our member-run organizations give people opportunities to develop transferable meeting, governance and systemic advocacy skills.