Peer Support Training for Rural Residents

In partnership with Robyn Priest LIVE YOUR TRUTH, the Stigma-Free Society is proud to announce our upcoming Peer Support Worker Training sessions, tailored specifically for rural residents in Canada. This two-day virtual course will be held on May 30th and June 6th (8am – 4pm PST, 10am – 6pm CST, 11am – 7pm EST, with breaks). This training will equip participants to facilitate peer support programs and become leaders in their communities. 

These sessions empower individuals with shared backgrounds to work together to develop wellness-related skills. Taking this training is a great opportunity to find and provide support for mental health, along with those who understand your way of life!

What is Peer Support?

 The Mental Health Commission of Canada describes peer support as “a supportive relationship between people who have a lived experience in common.” The benefits of this approach to emotional and social support have been proven time and time again.

One of the most reputable Canadian providers of peer support training is Robyn Priest LIVE YOUR TRUTH, an organization that offers online training for both individuals and families. This training focuses on holistic approaches to wellbeing and practical strategies for promoting empathy and communicating effectively. Robyn Priest emphasizes that “peer support isn’t limited to mental health or addiction issues. It can be about anything anyone is going through; about life.” As human beings, we have a deep need for belonging. In addition to bridging gaps in professional mental health services, peer support can help us to build the connections we crave.

Peer Support in Rural Communities

Recent publications from the Mental Health Commission of Canada have emphasized that those living in rural and remote communities face specific challenges when it comes to maintaining wellness. These challenges include a relative lack of professional support services such as psychologists or counsellors. In these contexts, peer support is a great option. Because peer support is easily done over video chat, it can be a highly accessible resource.

No one understands the life and struggles of those living and working in agricultural communities better than those who have that shared experience. Training as a peer support worker will help you to translate that empathy into compassionate action. 

Key Benefits

Participants will gain an understanding of peer support fundamentals, as well as how to apply them in the contexts of one-on-one support and group facilitation. They will also learn how to share personal experiences in ways that help those facing similar challenges, including tips about demonstrating self-reflection and vulnerability while still maintaining professionalism. 

The training includes discussion and reflection on the importance of self-care as a regular practice, along with strategies for incorporating it into your daily life. Supporting others can be an emotionally challenging task, making it all the more important to take an intentional and holistic approach to your own wellbeing. 

Overall, participants can expect to gain valuable knowledge and skills that will help them to do work that is nourishing, caring, and empathic—as a peer support worker or a support group facilitator, and indeed in all walks of life.

This rewarding work opens up many opportunities to cultivate strong and supportive communities. The possibilities are there for you to discover!

Training and Registration Details

Tailored specifically for rural residents in Canada, this two-day virtual course will take place on May 30th and June 6th (8am – 4pm PST, 10am – 6pm CST, 11am – 7pm EST, with breaks). 

Thanks to a generous grant from Pacific Blue Cross BC, this training is free of cost, with a $50 deposit required to secure your spot. Your deposit will be refunded once you attend the session, unless you choose to donate the $50 to the Stigma-Free Society. Donations are always welcome! Deposits for those who sign up and do not participate cannot be refunded. 

For more information and to register, please go HERE or email [email protected].

Spots fill up quickly, so register today! Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to build skills for cultivating empathy and understanding in your local community. 

Stigma-Free Faces Fundraiser


The Stigma-Free Society is excited to announce our upcoming…

Stigma-Free Faces Fundraiser

May 26th 2022!

The Stigma-Free Society is a decade long trusted Charity that has done a significant amount of work in eliminating stigma of all kinds and promoting mental wellness. There is a growing need to support the mental health of individuals in our community, and our Fundraiser will aid in our endeavors to do this important work. Your donation supports our impacting initiatives that we have launched in recent years.

Our impacting virtual programs include the following:




The SFS Fundraiser contains 2 Events that you can attend!

Stigma-Free Stories Premiere Showing & Live Stream Andrea Paquette, President, SFS

The day-long event will take place from 10AM – 4PM (PST)

Click Here to Learn Full Details


Thank you for supporting the Stigma-Free Society!

Call Out for Virtual Stigma-Free School Presenters

Hiring – Operations and Engagement Manager

Operations and Engagement Manager

Have you ever dreamed of living in a Stigma-Free world?

If so, now you can work at a BC-based non-profit organization that is forging ahead to make the world a more understanding and accepting place.

The Stigma-Free Society is a Canadian registered charity since 2010 and is committed to the promotion of mental wellness and the elimination of stigma that surrounds mental illness, addictions, gender identity, and more. We achieve our mission by providing peer support training, online resource Toolkit hubs, and the delivery of preventative education to youth and the community.

Our Society is well-positioned to provide services that will support mental health in schools and community organizations across Canada. We offer our Student Mental Health Toolkit to Educators, School Counsellors, Parents/Guardians, and youth and rural residents have the opportunity to utilize our Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit across Canada.

Building on a decade of experience, the Stigma-Free Society has taken advantage of the rapid adoption of digital tools in the classroom to expand its Stigma-Free School program and Student Mental Health Toolkit services across British Columbia while expanding into Manitoba in 2022 and other parts of Canada. The Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit is a recent initiative and has great potential to reach even more Canadians with its resources and Rural Residents’ Peer Support Training Program.

We have a clear mandate that will take us into 2022 – our most significant year of growth.

  1. Expand reach & increase impact by connecting more effectively to the non-profit ecosystem and engaging in meaningful partnerships that will foster growth.
  2. The Society will Introduce new and existing programming into School Districts in BC, Manitoba, and Canada. The Society will target students and Rural/Ag residents in BC and Canada.
  3. The Society will Build Capabilities by adding expertise to our team, building on performance, and help scale our capacity.


To foster a movement that cultivates, encourages, and educates diverse communities to be inclusive and compassionate through awareness and understanding.


We foster awareness, understanding, and acceptance through education, support, and leadership.


  • Education
  • Diversity
  • Respect
  • Dignity
  • Community
  • Empowerment
  • Transparency
  • Inclusion
  • Compassion

The Stigma-Free Society has created this new position – Operations and Engagement Manager – and we require an astounding leader to help take our organization to the next level. Stigma-Free started as a grassroots initiative by Andrea Paquette – SFS President – and the Charity and has since been gaining significant traction. We now find ourselves at a pivotal point in our growth and require an experienced and strategic Operations and Engagement Manager who can help the Non-Profit reach its objectives.

This exciting opportunity requires a visionary and someone who thinks big. SFS is seeking a candidate who has experience in the field of mental health in their work and operations management expertise.

Job Description and Responsibilities

Society Operations

  • Identifying the resources necessary to achieve the organization’s goals derived from donors and fundraising activities.
  • Create a long-term strategy for Society’s HR sustainable planning.
  • Evaluate and monitor the Society’s financial health.
  • Produce quarterly reports to the President that demonstrates viability of the organization and goals for growth.
  • Work with the President and Grant Writer to assist in implementing the Society’s fundraising strategy.

Strategic Planning and Leadership

  • Adheres to Society’s Strategic Plan and implement benchmarks to manage the Society’s goals, delegate tasks, and track metrics.
  • Analyzes and improves systems, policies, and processes.
  • Work alongside the President to help execute the Society’s strategic plan for 2022 and beyond.


  • Build relationships with rural-indigenous schools, organizations to promote uptake of programs.
  • Build relationships with current districts and schools to promote uptake of Student Toolkit and virtual presentations – secure District partnerships and identify a Champion(s) for the districts.
  • Build and maintain collaborative partnership activities with Society’s partners.
  • Work alongside the President in guiding a marketing company to create a long-term marketing strategy.
  • Work with President and partners on Northern BC Expansion for School and Rural Toolkit programs.

Staff Management and Relations

  • Manage staff/contractors’ operations such as performance evaluations, SFS Champions Program, communications with market stakeholders.
  • Coordinate all aspects of marketing such as collaborating with Digital Marketer, Web Developer, Marketing Company to ensure successful performance and outcomes.
  • Organizes and plans professional development activities for staff.
  • Help train new presenters and work with Program Manager to execute Virtual Stigma-Free Presentations Program.
  • Train and work with Program Coordinator to learn Society’s new virtual presentations’ booking system.


  • Spearhead the Winnipeg expansion project and work with staff and key players in meeting program goals.
  • Manage Nationwide Peer Support Program and ensure uptake and delivery of program.
  • Lead the 2.0 Revamp for the Rural Mental Health Toolkit.
  • Basic web development in WordPress and Elementor is an asset but not necessary.
  • Basic design skills in Canva is an asset but not necessary.
  • Perform administrative tasks as required.


  • Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Management or equivalent education is required.
  • 5+ years working in a management role in a related non-profit organization with a budget of 1 million+
  • Knowledge of practice management processes, efficiencies, standards, metrics, and benchmarks.
  • Work remotely and have track record of working successfully from home.
  • Advanced level literacy in MS Office

Required Skills

  • Possesses a self-directed attitude and an ability to work independently.
  • High Producing and work in a timely manner.
  • Understands financial management, planning, prioritizing, and supervising others.
  • Demonstrates sound judgment, good problem-solving skills, and effective decision- making abilities.
  • Establishes and maintains effective work relationships with all stakeholders.
  • Communicates effectively, both verbally and in writing.
  • Be open-minded and willing to learn from different perspectives while taking direction from the President of Stigma-Free Society.
  • Have a positive, respectful attitude and a willingness to operate in an authentic manner.
  • Maintain a professional demeanor as the Operations and Engagement Manager representing the image of the Stigma-Free Society in the community.
  • Be flexible and open to conducting tasks that allows for adaptability, versatility, and assistance to the President.
  • Strong multi-tasking skills to prioritize, organize and meet deadlines; and
  • Work between 9 am – 5 pm PST Monday – Friday (40 hours a week).

Compensation is discussed with applicant and determined upon Employee’s qualifications and competencies.

Thank you for your consideration and we are extremely eager to hear from you!

We hope you will help us create a Stigma-Free world.

Submit CV and Cover Letter to:

Andrea Paquette, President and Co-Founder, SFS

E-mail: [email protected]

Deadline for Applications: Jan 20th, 2022, by 4 p.m. PST.  

Check out our website here with our programs and team:

Position is now filled and closed.

RSVP Today to the Stigma-Free Society’s 2021 Annual General Meeting

Hello Stigma-Free Friends,

On behalf of Dave Richardson, SFS Chairman, Stigma-Free Society Board of Directors and Andrea Paquette, President of the Stigma-Free Society, you are invited to our Charity’s Virtual Annual General Meeting 2021 that is taking place on the following date: November 24th from 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM PST. 

RSVP Today by filling out this contact form with your confirmation: HERE

A Zoom link for the meeting will be sent to you after you register.

To see the full AGM invitation with order of events, please go here: HERE

Join us in celebrating our 2021 achievements and view a special video presentation. We will have welcome messages from Dave Richardson – SFS Board Chair and and Andrea Paquette, President. We also have video clips from our Stigma-Free Community and much more!

Lastly, we will have our Board of Directors attending and Society members. We look forward to seeing those from the public and anyone interested in our mission and mandate.

We would really appreciate you being there to share in our Charity’s AGM highlighting the past year.

Thank you in advance and RSVP TODAY!

Order of Events:


Get trained to be a Rural Peer Support Group Facilitator and Support your Community!

Stigma-Free Society in partnership with Robyn Priest LIVE YOUR TRUTH are going to be hosting Peer Support Facilitator Trainings in the upcoming months as part of its Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit

Peer support is a way for individuals with a similar background to connect with each other and ensure that they are taking care of themselves on their specific needs and experiences. Peer support workers are trained on how to work with individuals with lived experiences that are reflective of their own and support from a place of empathy and understanding. This program is designed to truly empower both the support worker and the individual seeking support, as they work together, sharing experiences and developing wellness-related skills. 

The Stigma-Free Society is offering Peer Support Facilitator Training sessions four times a year, providing the opportunity for individuals to become certified peer support workers. Participants will be trained to become leaders of peer support groups in their community. Each training is tailored to support specific groups such as farmers, Indigenous leaders, rural youth and more. The training will be offered in partnership with Robyn Priest LIVE YOUR TRUTH, a remarkable organization that is currently offering online peer facilitator training for individuals and families. 

The first Peer Support Facilitator Training session will be a tailored training for Rural Women Entrepreneurs. Working as an entrepreneur in a rural area can often feel isolating, and many individuals struggle with a lack of support, which can lead to anxiety and burnout. No one understands the life and struggles of women living and working as entrepreneurs in rural communities better than those who have that shared experience. These unique challenges are best supported by those who have been through similar things and can empathize from a place of deep understanding.

In this training, Rural Women Entrepreneurs will gain an understanding of peer support fundamentals and learn how to apply them effectively when supporting their peers facing similar challenges. They will also learn how to effectively communicate and share personal experiences to enhance interactions as a peer supporter and support group facilitator. Participants will gain an understanding of the importance of self-care and how to apply this practice in their lives. Finally, and most importantly, individuals will learn how to become great peer support facilitators! This work is extremely rewarding and can lead to so many amazing opportunities for trainees.

Individuals who participate in this training will be able to apply the skills they learn to do work that is nourishing and steeped with care and empathy.

The Peer Support Facilitator Training for Rural Women Entrepreneurs will be a 2-day virtual course taking place on

July 21st and 28th , 2021, from 9AM PST – 5PM PST (with breaks).

Registration is by Donation to the Stigma-Free Society.

To register for this remarkable program, or a future training, please click HERE to visit our peer support landing page.

Don’t Miss the Stigma-Free Silent Auction! Open Until May 9th

We’ve Added to the Fundraiser!

The Stigma-Free Society’s Hope and Help Fundraiser for Mental Health has a new silent auction component!

The Stigma-Free Society is excited to announce the Mini Silent Auction as part of our Hope and Help Fundraiser for Mental Health! Mental health is such an important cause to be supporting, now more than ever. We need your help to grow and expand our initiatives that tackle mental health stigma, and stigma in all forms!

The fundraiser now has 3 components:

The Stigma-Free Stories Premiere Documentary (BUY TICKETS HERE),

The Live Stream Stigma-Free Marathon (DONATE HERE), and now the Mini Silent Auction!

The silent auction, which began on April 29th 2021 and ends May 9th 2021 at midnight, provides you the opportunity to bid on auction items from local BC vendors! All of the proceeds of this auction will go towards our impacting mental health initiatives and resources.

Some of the amazing auction items include: 

  • A $100 Gift Certificate to Robyn Constantia Designs
  • A $50 Gift Certificate to Good Omen
  • A $75 Gift Certificate to Luna Collective


Supporting this fundraiser will go directly to contributing to:

  • Program Development
  • Program Delivery
  • Helping our Charity adapt through this difficult time of COVID-19 and allow us to continue offering valuable educational mental health resources
  • Marketing and promotion of our programs by expanding the reach of the program.
  • Supporting our Stigma-Free Society staff financially
  • Engaging experts on mental health and education to enhance our programs

The programs you will be directly supporting include our Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit, Student Mental Health Toolkit and Virtual Stigma-Free Schools Program! Through your generous donation, we will be able to expand these resources and their reach in supporting the mental health and well-being of more people than ever!

Starting April 29th, join us for our Mini Silent Auction! And don’t forget to check out the other components of the Hope and Help Fundraiser for Mental Health!

Happy Bidding and Thank You to our Sponsors!

Join us at the Stigma-Free Society’s Hope and Help Fundraiser for Mental Health!

Mental health is such an important cause to be supporting, now more than ever. We need your help to grow and expand our initiatives that tackle mental health stigma, and stigma in all forms!

Taking place on May 5th 2021, this fundraiser event has a goal of raising $30,000 for our impacting mental health programs.

Here’s how your contribution will support this work:
  • Program Development and Delivery;
  • Helping our Charity adapt through this difficult time of COVID-19 and allow us to continue offering valuable educational mental health resources;
  • Marketing and promotion of our programs by expanding the reach of the program;
  • Supporting our Stigma-Free Society staff financially; and
  • Engaging experts on mental health and education to enhance our programs.

*The programs you will be directly supporting include:

Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit

Student Mental Health Toolkit

Virtual Stigma-Free Schools Program

Through your generous donation, we will be able to expand these resources in supporting the mental health and well-being of more people than ever! We are a Charity that is aiming for North American heights and we need your help!


The Fundraiser will have Two Components: 

  1. The Stigma-Free Stories Premiere Documentary – May 5th, 2021 @ 7:00pm (PST) (All Ages – Rated G)

 Click Here to Purchase Tickets for $25 each!


  1. Facebook/YouTube Livestream Stigma-Free Marathon – May 5th @ 10:00am – 2:00pm (PST)

This portion of the fundraiser will take place on two streaming platforms:

The Stigma-Free Society’s Facebook page and YouTube channel

More updates to come on this event!

Become a Sponsor of the Fundraiser:

If you want to get involved even more, you can sponsor the event! Sponsorship is also advantageous for you, and here’s how:

  • We will use our social media, websites, newsletter and more to promote your amazing foundation or business if you choose to sponsor us.
  • Number of Social Media Followers: 8,000+
  • Number of Newsletter Subscribers: 800+
  • All sponsors will receive Tax Receipts for amounts over $25 for their donation.

    You can donate to the charity directly by clicking here!

Check out the Fundraiser Tab on our website for more information about sponsorship levels from bronze to platinum!

At the Stigma-Free Society, we are continuously inspired by the support of our community. Your support is the reason that we are able to do such valuable and important work in breaking down stigma and supporting people’s mental health and well-being.

Thank you so much in advance for your support!

~The Stigma-Free Team

Meet our Stigma-Free Scholarship Winner Megan!

“I really had to grieve my changed sense of identity when I was diagnosed, at first, because I took it hard.”

These were Megan’s thoughts as she remembered the moment she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder two years ago. Megan struggled with a lot of self-stigma and biases that had come from what she had seen in the media. It was a huge transitional moment.

We, at the Stigma-Free Society are so proud of Megan for all she has overcome and we are extremely excited to announce her as one of our scholarship winners for post-secondary education offered in partnership with the Otsuka Lundbeck Alliance!

Megan plans to put her scholarship money towards her education as she is currently enrolled in the Post-Degree Diploma in Accounting at Camosun College. She aspires to become a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).

Throughout her undergraduate years, Megan excelled in her Math degree and was invited to fly across the country to present her research where she earned many accolades and was told her presentation was a favorite of the day.

We feel that this is an incredible achievement, particularly because this was during the time of Megan’s mental illness diagnosis.

About two years ago, Megan was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type I and faced a lot of stigma. Not only was Megan struggling with her own transition, but she realized that she was being treated differently by her community and even her close friends. This caused her to feel isolated during her undergraduate education.

She was able to find acceptance and compassion through her support group – one that she was recently able to reconnect with due to transitioning online this year.

Megan’s lived experience with bipolar has taught her to extend more acceptance, compassion, and kindness to others.

A big source of inspiration for Megan is her mother. She states that her mother is a life-long learner – something that has been passed onto her. In addition, her mother has always been encouraging and has been a huge source of support for her.

Given all that she has experienced, what advice would Megan give to her younger self and to others?

“Put yourself out there more”.

By putting herself out there, Megan has had so many opportunities that were previously stifled by negative self-talk. Megan’s message to others is: Be kind and do not judge others. We do not know what the people around us may be experiencing and the impact our words may have on them.

Congratulations on your scholarship and good luck Megan!

Author, Raman Dhaliwal, Stigma-Free Intern, Adler University


Meet our Scholarship Winner – Trisha Cull


We are extremely proud to introduce to you Trisha Cull, winner of the Otsuka-Lundbeck Alliance and Stigma-Free Society Scholarship. Registered in the Inter-professional Mental Health & Addictions (IMHA) post-graduate program at Camosun College, Trisha will use this money to help pay for her tuition and books, something she wasn’t sure how she was going to pay for prior to being awarded this scholarship.

These scholarships are given to inspirational individuals who are passionate about eliminating stigma and who strive to make a positive change in the field of mental health.

Trisha’s Story:

Trisha had her first depressive episode when she was 16-years and diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder twenty years later. For years, she felt inadequate and weak for not being able to overcome her mental illness on her own and lived with a significant amount of stigma – some self-imposed and the rest from an abusive partner. Trisha also suffered from bulimia, self-medicated with alcohol and drugs, and struggled with low self-esteem much of her life.

Hope, strength and courage gradually replaced the stigma she experienced, lived and eventually overcame. She is grateful for both her failures and victories along the way as they have given her insight into what so many others experience and have helped shape the person she has become. Trisha no longer settles for abusive partners and recognizes her own strength and bravery.

At 46 years old, Trisha has published a memoir that details her journey with mental illness. She is already making a significant difference in the field of mental health and will continue to do so throughout her education and life.

Trisha aspires to work with youth, specifically, she is working towards becoming a mental health support worker for youth struggling with eating disorders. Trisha would also like to pursue an MA in counselling in the near future.

A message from Trisha:

When asked what message she would like to give to others Trisha said,

“If you are struggling, reach out and get help. It takes incredible strength to seek help, you have to be very brave to do that, especially in a society where there is so much stigma surrounding mental health and substance use. It is okay to ask for help. You are not alone.”

Congratulations on your scholarship, Trisha! We are excited to see the amazing work you are going to do in the field of mental health and to help reduce stigma. We are beyond proud to announce you as one of our scholarship winners. Good luck to you in school and your future endeavors!

Thank you to the Otsuka-Lundbeck Alliance for making these scholarships possible.

Author, Cosette Leblanc, Stigma-Free Intern, Adler University