My Heart Sings

singing heart

Even after five hours on the road from Kingston through Toronto to home my heart is still singing from the joy of the week I had training 18 mental health consumers to be peer supporters.  That would have been enough…but then when I opened my computer to write this blog a piece of paper fell out with a special message and made  my heart soar.  (I am baffled about how she got the note in my computer.)

The face of mental health supports in the South East of Ontario is changing drastically and the the powers that be have finally figured out, after over 20 years of our proving over and over that Peer Support is a “Best Practice” in mental health and addiction, that it really is worth implementing.  They have finally begun a reconstruction which holds peer support as foundational.  The new organization which has sprung from this initiative is Peer Support South Eastern Ontario.  They were formerly known as but are now expanding their service with this first wave of hiring.  It doubles their staff in one quick movement.  (They just received their official charter for the new name today so it may take them a few days to get the web site turned around. If you are looking for it and can’t find it send me a message and I’ll track it down for you.)

This is wonderful news for peer support warms the tired hearts of those of us who have been carrying the banner for so long, trying to break down walls and open doors, so people would begin to embrace what we have known to be truth.

With all this good news came a training program for 18 people who were hired to begin to fill new roles for peer support within the region.  The Ontario Peer Development Initiative (OPDI) training program is time tested and is the product of an evolution in training which has been taking place for over 20 years.  It is good material and provokes good discussion, fun and learning in adults who want to share their mental health/addiction recovery journey to support others on the same road.  training

It was my great pleasure to spend about 50 hours with these 18 remarkable people this week. They come from many different walks of life, are different ages, and have their own unique stories but they came together to take a risk and blaze a new, uncharted trail for their fellow consumers.  They bonded quickly and found purpose and strength in their new found friendships.  They learned quickly and well and certainly kept myself and the other trainer on our toes all week with their questions and curiosity.

Training is hard work for everyone involved but their enthusiasm and gratitude for my work has reignited my own hope and confidence.  They wrote me wonderful messages during our parting exercise and they gave me hugs and words of encouragement I will never forget.

Special Thanks the DA for these words which will find a special place on my wall.  “Peggy – Thank you for your expertise in this field of learning.  I have learned a lot that will stay with.  You are an exceptional lady.”  DA

WOW!  Still catching my breath.


About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises (, I work as an "Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and as a spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 22 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. A firmly grounded faith and a passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director and I am soon adding to that a license to marry people. As I move toward retirement I am very aware that I have to keep working so I chose to do things which will meet my modest financial needs and also my love of supporting people in their life journey. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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2 Responses to My Heart Sings

  1. Brenda says:

    Thanks for a great week, Peggy!

  2. I love this kind of work as well. It is so rewarding to be able to spend such quality time with people and to have them share their lives with us. You have said it well here. I would love to work with you again Peg. We make magic happen together and the learning that comes in the group is enriching not only to our learners but to us ourselves.

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