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Co-Facilitator, Mental Health Support Group for Family and Friends

Posted • Last updated


Open to Fraser – Vancouver Coastal, Patient partners in Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley

Last updated

Have you supported a friend or family member with mental health issues who has received care in the hospital or other mental health treatment programs? Would you be interested in co-facilitating a support group for other family and friends? We are looking for a patient partner to join two St. Paul’s Hospital social workers to co-facilitate a family and friends monthly support group.

Open to: Patient partners in Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley

Lead Organization or Department

Providence Health Care  - Psychiatry Department, Brief Intervention Clinic


Social workers at the Brief Intervention Clinic at St. Paul's Hospital want to re-establish the monthly family and friends support group. The group will provide a safe place for family and friends to check in with each other and the group facilitators as well as review ideas and recommendations for self-care, creating and maintaining boundaries. The purpose of engaging family partners in the facilitator role is to include the non-health care professional perspective based on lived experience, and provide real life, real-time perspective and views that only an experienced patient or family member can provide.

Level of Engagement

This opportunity is at the level of involve on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that the health care partner will involve patients in planning and design phases to ensure ideas or concerns are considered and reflected in recommendations and provide feedback on how your input affected the decision.  


  • An interest and experience in the Recovery Model
  • Experience of being the friend/family member of a person who has previously received mental health care in hospital or other mental health treatment programs
  • Must be comfortable with sharing your personal experience with others
  • Group facilitation skills and experience are preferred
If you have a strong interest in this work but have not yet completed a PVN orientation and volunteer agreement, are unsure if your experience is a good fit or feel another format of engagement would work better with your availability, please contact the engagement leader directly.


Number of vacancies: 1 Location: St Paul's Hospital 2nd floor Burrard Building, Vancouver BC Time/Frequency: The support group meets on the last Thursday of each month (likely except December) between 1800 and 1930 hrs. Commitment: 1 year. A formal check-in will be scheduled at 3 months to assess responsibilities, interest in continued participation, and ensure mutual comfort moving forward. Facilitation training similar to what is offered to psychiatric residents will be offered to the selected patient partner. The patient co-facilitator and all patients who participate in the support group will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement, and confidentiality will be reviewed with the group. Please note: The placement process for this opportunity may include an informal interview between the patient partner and the health care partner.


Expenses related to travel (e.g. transit, parking up to $18/day, and approved mileage up to 60 km each way) will be reimbursed by Providence Health. Please note that it may take 4-6 weeks to process expenses.


The Brief Intervention Clinic friends and family support group presents an opportunity to re-establish a much needed resource for those who are actively caring for a person with mental health issues. We have previously had a support group, but it was on hiatus while changes were being made to the program. Co-facilitation of this support group includes two skilled social workers familiar with the Recovery Model in mental health. The belief that recovery is real provides the essential and motivating message of a better future—that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them. Hope is internalized and can be fostered by peers, families, providers, allies, and others. Hope is the catalyst of the recovery process. For more information please read the SAMHSA document. The social workers leading this engagement recognize and want to minimize the potential risk of emotional harm to the patient partner acting as co-facilitator. A plan will be generated with the selected participant, which could include (but is not limited to) access to different support groups that happen off-site every other week of the month to engage in peer-to-peer emotional support without the facilitator responsibilities, or meeting individually outside of the group with staff for supportive counseling.  

Health Care Partner Contact Information

Karen Estrin
Engagement Leader, Patient and Public Engagement | Lower Mainland & Sunshine Coast

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