ParNorth is the research branch of NISA offering consumers an environment for exploring and discussing practical questions about mental health and illness. The “Par” in ParNorth stands for Participatory Action Research. This is a social research method by which the actual participants in a social situation learn to examine what is happening to them and to describe it as a significant, observable process.

ParNorth invites mental health consumers to think seriously about what is important in their lives; to examine personal and social issues in a way that develops research and discussion skills; and to translate these issues and experiences into meaningful and workable research questions. NISA aims to utilize the knowledge so acquired to enhance the mental health, well-being, and quality of life for persons with a mental illness, and to provide an educated and well-informed voice on policies which affect psychiatric consumers. This is done in conjunction with a Northeast Mental Health Centre Occupational Therapist/Clinical Researcher. ParNorth offers consultation services to groups interested in learning about the uniqueness of the NISA model.

Writer's Circle 3               2014-01-open minds 4               IMG_2286

A number of papers have been published about NISA and Parnorth. Have a look below for a list of references.

  • Rebeiro, K.L., LaCarte, Sara., Calixte, Shana. (2015). Authentic peer support work: Challenges and opportunities for an evolving occupation. Journal of Mental Health, 23 September 2015. Read Online
  • Brae, K. & Rebeiro, K.L. (1998). The light at the end of my tunnel. COTF Case Study Review. Toronto, ON: Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation, 65.
  • Bybrk, B., Day, D.G., Morris, L., O’Brien, M.C., Rebeiro, K.L., Seguin, P., Semeniuk, B., Wilson., & Wilson, J. (1999). Who’s in charge here? The client’s perspective on client-centered care. Occupation Therapy NOW, Sept/Oct, 11-12.
  • Pike, S., & Rebeiro, K.L. (2002). Colouring outside the lines: Defining the role of the occupational therapist in a consumer-run organization. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. The University of Western Ontario. publication. OT in Mental Health.
  • Rebeiro, K.L. (1999).  The labyrinth of community mental health: In search for Meaningful occupation. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, 23(2), 143-152.  
  • Rebeiro, K.L. (2000).  Client perspectives on occupational therapy practice: Are we truly client-centred? Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67(1), 7-14.
  • Rebeiro, K.L. (2001). Enabling occupation: The importance of an affirming social environment. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, 80-89.
  • Rebeiro, K.L.  (2001).  In order to make a difference: A research journey.  In J.V. Cook (Ed.), Qualitative research in occupational therapy: Strategies and experiences, pp. 132-156. Albany, NY: Delmar.
  • Rebeiro, K.L. (2003).  How qualitative research evidence can inform and challenge occupational therapy practice.  In K. Hammell & Carpenter (Eds.), Qualitative research in evidence-based rehabilitation, (pp. 89-102).  Edinburgh, UK: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Rebeiro, K.L. & Allen, J. (1998).  Voluntarism as occupation. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(5), 279-285.
  • Rebeiro, K.L. & Cook, J.V. (1999).  Opportunity, not prescription: An exploratory study of the experience of occupational engagement. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(4), 176-187.
  • Rebeiro, K.L., Day, D.G., Semeniuk, B., O’Brien, M.C., & Wilson, B. (2001).  NISA: An occupation-based, mental health program. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55, 493-500.
  • Strong, S., & Rebeiro, K.L. (2003).  Creating supportive work environments for people with mental illness.  In L.Letts, P. Rigby, & D. Stewart (Eds), Using environments to enable occupational performance. Thorofare, NJ: Slack Inc.
  • Wright, C., & Rebeiro, K.L. (2003).  Exploration of a single case in a consumer-governed mental health organization. OT in Mental Health, 19(2), 19-32.

If you have any questions about becoming involved with NISA’s ParNorth Research Unit please contact Martin Boucher at 705-222.6472 ext.320 or mboucher@nisa.on.ca


At NISA we offer discussion groups, social and recreational activities and family support services. We also have two Peer Support Workers on staff who work with organizations in the community to provide one-to-one support and goal setting for consumers. Our staff provide advocacy for all consumers and referral to outside organizations as needed. Just come in and have a chat!