Partnering with Consumer/Survivor Initiatives

A consumer/survivor initiative (CSI) is an organization run by and for people with lived experience of mental illness. Every CSI in Ontario is unique. Some have funding for staff, others are run by volunteers. They vary in size, resources and range of activities offered. Common services include drop-in centres, social-recreation programming and support groups. What they share is a focus on personal empowerment, social support and improved quality of life for their members.

At a community level, CSIs often work with service providers, funders and health-system planners to develop, implement and evaluate mental health services and supports. They play a role in advocating for change to support recovery, resilience and mental health human rights. CSIs may also educate people in the community about the myths and realities of living with a mental illness.

For the past 20 years, CSIs across Ontario have been providing peer support to improve the quality of life for people with lived experience of mental health problems. As their peer support workers gain diabetes competency training, CSIs are well-positioned to become key partners in diabetes prevention and management initiatives.

Regional Roundtables

From October 2011 to February 2012, regional roundtables were organized to build connections between CSIs and local diabetes and related health professionals. The roundtables took place in many of the regions where mental health peer supporters have been trained in diabetes self-management support. The roundtables highlighted local issues related to diabetes and explored opportunities for mental health peer supporters to collaborate with others in the community.

CSIs in Ontario

The Ontario Peer Development Initiative is a provincial organization that strives to provide a strong, cohesive and unified voice for consumer/survivor organizations in Ontario. For a list of ODPI member CSIs, visit

For a list of mental health peer support and self-help initiatives funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, including both CSI and non-CSI programs, search the Mental Health Helpline online directory at