NISA/Northern Initiative for Social Action is an organization run by and for consumers of mental health services. We develop occupational skills, nurture self-confidence and provide resources for recovery by creating opportunities for participants to contribute to their own well-being and that of their community.

All staff, volunteers and members are people with lived experience of mental illness. We are a member-driven initiative, offering meaningful and useful programs, providing a setting for active social recovery rather than passive dependence on community services. Our involvement at NISA allows us to liberate ourselves from the stigma and discrimination we often face, as a result of our mental health diagnoses.

Being, belonging, becoming, for all mental health consumers.

The NISA Way

Who are we?
Being
Belonging
Becoming

Recovery-Based Practice

Wellness & Recovery
Creative Expression
Occupational & Vocational Skills
Peer Support

Core Values of Peer Support at NISA

Peer support is defined as a helping relationship between two individuals (peers) who share some form of lived experience with mental health challenges, issues, concerns, or illness. Peers help us understand and interpret our experiences.  They aid us in recognizing our strengths, and support us as we venture to find our own meaning in life.  At NISA this support can come in the form of friendships, formal one-on-one support, or group sharing and learning activities.

As members of a peer/consumer-led organization, we acknowledge and recognize that for a long time people living with mental health challenges were the subject of stigmatization, discrimination, and social injustice. NISA and its members are indebted to those who fought for the civil rights of ‘psychiatric patients’ in the institutions, and in the community after deinstitutionalization. Peer Support and recovery in mental health was made possible by those brave individuals who resisted and brought about change in our communities.

The core values reflect our commitment to maintaining a peer-support relationship consistent with the self-worth and dignity that we deserve. These values include: Self-Determination & Personal Strength, Mutuality, Hope, Recovery, Health & Well-being, Honest & Transparent Relationships, Personal Integrity & Trust, Dignity & Respect,  and Lifelong learning & Personal Growth.

Self-Determination and Personal Strength
Mutuality
Hope
Recovery, Hope & Well-Being
Honest & Transparent Relationships
Personal Integrity & Trust
Personal Integrity & Trust
Dignity & Respect
Lifelong Learning & Personal Growth

Click here to download the Core Values of Peer Support at NISA

Meet Our Office Team

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Dinah Laprairie, Executive Director705.222-6472 x326

You can come talk to me about your big ideas for NISA or if you have concerns about members or staff. I supervise and work with staff, manage operations, have administrative duties, organize events, and advocate in the wider community to ensure Consumer voices are heard.


Kaarina Ranta, Programs & OperationsManager 705.222.6472 x305
I am responsible for the general operations of NISA. I oversee the care of the building and monitor programs to ensure we are offering quality services.  If you have ideas that would enhance in serving your needs, come see me. I also hire, train and supervise our employees.


Darick Hongell, Internet TechnologyCoordinator 705.222.6472 x302
I am in charge of the Northern Computer Recycling Depot (NCRD) as well as technical support for NISA as a whole. Talk to me to learn how to use the computers, how to strip them of old parts and add new ones, and if you want a computer for yourself.


Tammy Armstrong, Program Coordinator705.222.6472 x304
As Program Coordinator I organize and schedule programs, make connections with the community, and keep an ear out to member needs to reflect programming that facilitates recovery. Come and see me if you have questions or ideas about the programs we offer.

Martin Boucher, Warm Line Coordinator705.222.6472 x320
NISA runs a pre-crisis telephone line that is open daily, 6pm to 12am. The Warm Line operates out of 5 Northern Ontario regions. I oversee daily operations, including the Regional staff teams, training, statistical information, new initiatives, and program maintenance and development.


Audrey O'Brien, Publishing andCommunications Coordinator x314
My main responsibility is marketing and sales for our literary magazine Open Minds Quarterly. This includes liaising with subscribers and advertisers, website maintenance, and developing our social media presence. I also offer general marketing support for NISA’s programs and to staff.

Andrea

Andréa Desjardins, Outreach Peer SupportCoordinator 705.222.6472 x331
I am responsible for the management, training and supervision of the Outreach Peer Support team.  I also network with regional and community services to promote the concept of recovery based peer support. Please come see me if you’d like to know more about Outreach Services. 

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Ella Jane Myers, Editor Open MindsQuarterly 705.222.6472 x303
Reach out to me if you have questions about NISA’s magazine, Open Minds Quarterly, the Writer’s Circle, special writing groups or speakers you’d like to see, or about your personal writing goals. I spend most of my time processing OMQ submissions and working with our writers.


Sylvie Gravelle, Administrative Assistant705.222.6472 x308
I provide information on NISA’s programs and services and am your go-to for any general questions or if you need to find your way. I also do a lot of small to large tasks, including taking minutes, supporting staff, and fixing the printer from time-to-time.


Tamara Parker, Communications andFundraising Leader 705.222.6472 x341
I support NISA with marketing and communication initiatives and take the lead on our fundraising activities and events that aim to generate mental health awareness, while securing ongoing community support.


Alex Radway, Member Support Worker705.222.6472 x318
My title says it all! As Member Support Worker I am here to support you if you have any questions or concerns, want a tour or info about our programs, would like to become a member, or just want to talk to me about any and everything. I am here for you!

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Sue Ann Land, Peer Support Worker705.222.6472 x319
As a Peer Support Worker I facilitate workshops in WRAP®, Wellness/Recovery, Sharing Circle, Food is Mood, and Family Support Night. NISA is a great place to share in lived experience and mutuality. I look forward to meeting you and providing peer support to you!


Claudie Doiron, Peer Support Worker705.222.6472 x316
As a Peer Support Worker at NISA, I am here to provide support, resources, advocacy, and assistance to members, as well as facilitate peer conversation in groups or provide support in a one-to-one setting. I offer this support in both English and French.


Corinne Larouche, Outreach Peer SupportWorker 705.222.6472 x335
I’m responsible for providing bilingual peer support in the community to individuals receiving housing services from the Canadian Mental Health Association Sudbury/Manitoulin. I support individuals one-to-one with their recovery and wellness, as well as offer opportunities for advocacy and life skills development.


Alexandre Tremblay, Outreach PeerSupport Worker 705.222.6472 x330
I’m responsible for providing bilingual peer support in the community to individuals receiving housing services from the Canadian Mental Health Association Sudbury/Manitoulin. I support individuals one-to-one with their recovery and wellness, as well as offer opportunities for advocacy and life skills development.


Annie Brunet, Outreach Peer SupportWorker 705.222.6472 x333
I’m responsible for providing bilingual peer support in the community to individuals receiving housing services from the Canadian Mental Health Association Sudbury/Manitoulin. I support individuals one-to-one with their recovery and wellness, as well as offer opportunities for advocacy and life skills development.


Maggie Nelson, Outreach Peer SupportWorker 705.222.6472 x332
I provide peer support in the community through one-to-one recovery-oriented conversations and advocacy, as well as by connecting individuals with community partners for further life skills development. I also facilitate in the Wrap Wellness Recovery Action Plan program, and run a weekly drum social at NISA.

Kaitlynn

Kaitlyn Matson, Outreach Peer SupportWorker 705.222.6472 x334
I’m responsible for providing bilingual peer support in the community to individuals receiving housing services from the Canadian Mental Health Association Sudbury/Manitoulin. I support individuals one-to-one with their recovery and wellness, as well as offer opportunities for advocacy and life skills development.

Community Connections