Skip to main content
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo
COVID-19 information and updates

Find the most recent updates here, as well as FAQs and information for students, faculty and staff.

Doctoral Candidate, Rachel VanEvery, awarded Mitacs grant to work with CMHA Hamilton

Rachel VanEvery, PhD. Candidate in the Department of Health, Aging and Society, has been awarded a Mitacs Accelerate grant for a research internship with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) of Hamilton. The project, Investigating the Role of Peer Support in Reducing the Harms of Substance Use and Advancing Recovery: A Qualitative Analysis of CMHA Hamilton’s Community Mental Health Peer Support Initiatives, will be supervised by Dr. James Gillett, Associate Professor, Health, Aging and Society.

May 02, 2022

 

Rachel VanEvery, PhD. Candidate in the Department of Health, Aging and Society, has been awarded a Mitacs Accelerate grant for a research internship with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) of Hamilton. The project, Investigating the Role of Peer Support in Reducing the Harms of Substance Use and Advancing Recovery: A Qualitative Analysis of CMHA Hamilton’s Community Mental Health Peer Support Initiatives, will be supervised by Dr. James Gillett, Associate Professor, Health, Aging and Society.

Mitacs is a government-funded, Canadian non-profit organization that supports innovation by providing funding for projects that connect post-secondary institutions with industry, non-profit and public sectors. In their Accelerate program, Mitacs matches funding from an organization to hire a student researcher, supervised by a faculty member, to complete a research project that responds to the needs and aspirations of the host organization. 

CMHA Hamilton is a non-profit community organization that provides mental health services to adults with serious mental illnesses.  CMHA is also a member of the Faculty of Social Sciences’ Community Research Platform (CRP).  Through the CRP, VanEvery worked with CMHA to evaluate a pilot project that endeavored to provide housing and wraparound support to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, mental illness, and substance use challenges.  In response to the current wave of mental health and opioid crisis exacerbated by Covid-19, CMHA Hamilton has introduced peer support initiatives. Building on the success of their previous collaboration, VanEvery will work with CMHA to evaluate the impact of these initiatives and support evidence-based program development and decision-making at the CMHA Hamilton. 

VanEvery notes that a key goal of the project will be to share and leverage research findings to help identify gaps in meeting the mental health needs of the initiatives' target demographic (working-aged men and transitional aged youth who use substances) and to learn from peers and peer support workers about how to better serve folks with mental health concerns and addictions. CMHA CEO Sue Phipps notes that this project is critical for understanding and meeting the core elements of peer support programming and mental health services as little is known about which program elements lead to positive outcomes for the priority populations.  

This collaborative project launched in April 2022.