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[The words “Standing Together” display with a collage or people and then the words “Diabetes and Mental health Peer Support Project” displays]

[Round table discussion with a group of people. A woman wearing glasses speaks.]

Peer support for me means that my fear can go away.

[The words “Training metal health peer supporters in diabetes prevention and self-management strategies.” displays. People smile nod their heads in agreement.]


[A man wearing a gray suit is standing on a rooftop and begins to speak. The words “Dr. Rohan Ganguli, Executive Vice President or Clinical Programs, Centre for Addiction and Mental health” displays]

People who have serious mental illness have about two to three times the rate of diabetes.

It depends on the kind of mental illness because there are obviously many kinds. And the most serious kinds of mental illness like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are where the rates are the highest.

[A woman begins to speak. The words “Christine Sansom, RN, Director of Clinical Services, WOTCH Community Mental Health Services” displays]

I've worked in mental help for almost 20 years and what I've seen is individuals with mental illness suffer with horrific, you know, physical health. Problems that have not been addressed for years and years.

[A woman sitting in a coffee shop begins to speak. The words “Deborrah Sherman, Executive Director, Ontario Peer Development Initiative” displays]

Well, the consequence of under treatment and under diagnosis can be severe illness and death. I know lots of people who became severely ill and I've known some people who have died. Very young. 50. I know two people who died at 50.

[A woman sitting in front of a window in an office tower begins to speak. The words “Barbara Neuwelt, DMHPS Steering Committee” displays]

There are such high rates of diabetes in people living with mental health problems and illnesses and it’s a population that a lot of physicians nurses and dieticians don't really know.

[A woman sitting in lobby begins to speak. The words Cheryl Forchuk, PhD, Assistant Director, Lawson Health Research Institute” displays]

I've at times had clients complaining they would go in for treatment for an earache and be accused are you hearing voices.


[A female medical health worker and a female patient are sitting in a clinic room talking]

[A close up shot of a person’s hand displays and another person applies a diabetes blood test and the results display on an Ascensia Contour machine. The words “Stigma and misconceptions about mental illness can cause problems in diabetes diagnosis” displays]

[A man seated in a clinic lobby begins to speaks. The words “Walter Osoka, Peer Support Worker, CAN-VOICE” display]

I was the one who asked to have my blood sugar checked and in the emerge because I knew there was, might be, something else. They never checked that - the blood sugar, right? And then they came back and went you know what, your blood sugar is high. Oh okay.

[A woman seated outside begins to speak. The words “Betty Edwards, Research Coordinator, CAN-VOICE” display]

For me it was the thirst. I was picking up on the symptoms of diabetes and so I also asked my doctor to test me.

[The video goes back to Walter Osoka]

They found out that I was a diabetic, you know, and I probably had symptoms for five years or more. I didn't realize it.

[The video goes back to Cheryl Forchuk]

When someone has a mental illness they go through a lot of grieving and loss in terms of that sense of who they are and then to have that over layered with diabetes a lot of those same processes occur.

[A woman seated in a lowly lit room begins to speak. The words “Barbara Frampton, Diabetes Peer Trainer, Regional Director, SWAN” display]

It is one more thing and but it's one more big thing and just to have somebody tell you now you have to go and eat this way and now you have to exercise and now you have to do this - um, it's a real change to a person's life.

[Muffled speaking overlaid with music. A closeup on a woman;’s moving hands as she gestures while speaking. The words “The project increases awareness in the diabetes community of the invaluable role that mental health peer supporters can play.” displays. The video transitions fro a closeup of woman’s head with her cheek resting on her closed hand then to a round table discussion with a group of people]

[The video transition to a woman sitting in an office. The words “Betty Harvey, RNEC, MScN, CNS / Nurse Practitioner, St. Joseph’s health Care London” displays. The woman begins to speak.]

Right now there's a gaping chasm between where people live and where professionalized services are being delivered and if this new group of people can help bridge that gap, magic, that's what we need.

[The video goes back to Dr. Rohan Ganguli]

Peer support has been found to be helpful enough in a wide variety of chronic disease, particularly chronic diseases, um because the the experience of the person who's had the diseases had the treatment, who’s had the complications, was taking the medications, who’s had the side effects of taking the medications is a perspective that most of the treaters don't bring.

[The video goes back to Cheryl Forchuk]

A lot of my previous research has been around peer support is one of the reasons I was asked to participate in this study and we have found that peer support is very helpful in actually reducing reliance on hospitalization and keeping people in the community.

[The video goes back to Deborrah Sherman]

Peer supporters are uniquely positioned to help, um, help people learn the risks, to help people self-manage and and to help people do prevention simply because peer supporters that are connected to Consumer/Survivor initiatives are trusted.

[The video goes back to Barbara Neuwelt]

The mental health care support sector is a gold mine that needs to be talked into more.

[The video goes back to Cheryl Forchuk]

They know what the pain is, what the journey is and they can help support the person.

[The video goes back to Barbara Harvey]

The issue that I think we in the healthcare system worry about when you start talking about non-professional models of care delivery is that people understand the boundaries.

[The video goes back to Barbara Neuwelt]

But as they've come to understand that we're not asking peer supporters to be diabetes experts but that they have other skills that can complement the skills and knowledge of the health professionals they've really started to get excited about the idea that peer support can help them to do their jobs better.

[The video goes back to Barbara Harvey]

And I've been a part of the training so I know how the training happens. There's a very clear demarcation between what it is to be a diabetes peer supporter and what professionalized services do.

[The video goes back to Cheryl Forchuk]

So it's not that we're turning the pure supporters into about diabetes specialists but that diabetes aware and that they can refer on to the specialists.

[The video goes back to Dr. Rohan Ganguli]

One is not a substitute for the other they work together.

[The video goes back to Barbara Frampton]

We can share with the diabetes community the experience and what that's like. They can share with us some of the knowledge.

[The video goes back to Betty Edwards]

Knowing we are not alone, I think it's one of the biggest gifts and a key that takes us out of that isolation.

[The video goes back to Walter Osoka]

Can I be a cheerleader and say look, I mean you CAN, you can do this. You can get information and so help me, your life will be better by doing so.


[The video zooms in on a collage of people and the words “Diabetes and Mental Health Peer Support Project” displays. The words “To find out more about this project visit:” displays. The words “The Diabetes and Mental health Peer Support Project is led by” displays and is followed by the logos for Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario and Ontario Peer Development Initiative. The words “Thank to our Advisory Committee Members, Steering Committee Members, Regional Trainers and the 80 peers who participated in the eight regional training sessions” displays. The words “Special thanks to our sponsor, The Lawson Foundation” displays. The logo for Diabetes and Mental Health Peer Support Project displays.]