Innovative mental health program receives positive feedback

April 3, 2014 - Ottawa’s Hôpital Montfort, Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) and Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa today announced their participation in Recovery Connections, an innovative peer support and family support project piloted at both facilities. The program is funded by the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

Individuals living with mental illness and/or substance abuse and their families can better understand and relate to others who are in recovery from their own mental health and substance abuse issues and/or that of a family member or friend.  Peer and family support workers bring a unique perspective to their work through lived experience. 

In October 2012, mental health organizations within the Champlain LHIN came together to submit a proposal for Recovery Connections.  This proposal consisted of providing peer support and family support to people accessing the inpatient Mental Health Units at QCH and Hôpital Montfort, as well as the Emergency Department at Hôpital Montfort. Both hospitals and Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa launched the pilot program in September 2013.

Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa is the lead organization delivering Recovery Connections within the hospital settings, and provides a range of mutual support groups and activities.

Since the program began, over 300 individuals at Hôpital Montfort and 150 individuals at QCH have been supported through this new program. The vision is to roll out Recovery Connections to other hospitals in the Champlain LHIN.

Living with mental health issues day-to-day can be overwhelming for individuals and family members.  All the members from the Recovery Connections team are individuals who are in recovery from their own mental illness, or whose loved ones have been through a similar situation. They are there to guide, to answer questions and concerns, and to support people and their families in taking an active role in their recovery, bringing a unique perspective to their work through lived experience. 

Services offered:

Peer Support Providers provide one-to-one peer support through role modeling, listening, problem solving, facilitating access to other peer driven services, and helping link individuals to peers who can support them in their transition to the community upon discharge from hospital.

Family Peer Support Providers draw on experiences as family members and meet with family and friends to discuss their needs, help them to access essential resources and provide one-to-one or group peer support and coping mechanisms.

To access the program:

Queensway Carleton Hospital:
Extension 3968 for Peer Support
Extension 3978 for Family Support


Hôpital Montfort:
Extension 3534 for Peer Support
Extension 3535 for Family Support



Judy Brown
Queensway Carleton Hospital
613-721-2000, ext. 5601
     Geneviève Picard
Hȏpital Montfort
613-746-4621, ext. 2049



  • "[My worker] broke my walls down from the get go and I would like to continue to speak with her; was much at ease; gave me hope, support and hugs."
  • "My worker was well informed and very supportive to my needs"
  • "[They] were very gentle with me, very supportive"
  • "Let's see this applied provincially, nationally"

Champlain LHIN: “Recovery Connections aligns with the Champlain LHIN’s objectives of  encouraging more individuals to be involved in planning their health services, and ensuring more people with mental health conditions and addictions have access to services,” says Chantale LeClerc, Champlain LHIN CEO. “The LHIN worked closely with provider partners to launch this innovative program, which has already experienced tremendous success.”

Queensway Carleton Hospital: “Recovery Connection specialists know the issues our patients and their families are dealing with.  They have been there themselves and help guide our clients every step of the way,” says Hazel Alexander, QCH’s Clinical Manager Mental Health Services. “They are having a profound impact on our patients and our staff welcome their support.”

Hôpital Montfort: “While we focus on offering the best possible care and we place an emphasis on the patient’s and family’s experience, we cannot necessarily put ourselves in their shoes,” explained Ann Salvador, Administrative Director of the Mental Health Program and Family Birthing Unit at Hôpital Montfort. “It is wonderful to have peer supporters and family peer supporters who can say to the patients and families ‘I know what you are talking about because I have lived it’. The feedback we receive from patients and families is that they are thrilled with the program.”

Recovery Connections:  Recovery Connections is an essential part of the hospital setting.  Hearing individuals who have utilized Recovery Connections talk about what it gave them was heartwarming,’’ said Robyn Priest, co-investigator for the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s  Making the Case for Peer Support and lead evaluator for the first phase of Recovery Connections. ‘’Staff also found the program to be very useful and stated that they had only heard positive things from individuals who had used the Recovery Connections program.  These types of programs are being established all over the world with great success. Trained peer support workers combined with recovery oriented service delivery are essential for people who need support to recover and live well in the presence or absence of their symptoms.’’

Psychiatric Survivors Ottawa: ‘’Recovery Connections is the culmination of service providers working closely with each other, with people who have used the services and with their families. This program reflects what people have told us would be most helpful during a very difficult time in their lives. PSO has been privileged to be providing the leadership, together with QCH and the Montfort, in implementing this exciting new initiative,’’ said Sonja Cronkhite, Executive Director of PSO.



Lise Léveillé, Recovery Connections peer at Hôpital Montfort.

For a high-definition photo, please contact Hôpital Montfort Communications at