Moms Stop the Harm

From the website:


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In 2020 we partnered with UBC researcher Jamie Piercy in a study that looked at the characteristics and perceived needs of families affected by the overdose crisis. Our role was in recruiting participants and among the 354 respondents were many MSTH members.

The study looked at the health outcomes of families affected by substance use, including those who had lost a loved one (70%) and those with a loved one actively using (30%).

The study asked the question “How are loved ones doing, emotionally, socially and physically”?” and found that:

  • Participants reported elevated rates of depression, anxiety and reduced efficacy in managing emotions.
  • Nearly half reported feeling stigma or judged by peers after the death of their loved one.
  • Drug-related harms and the loss of a loved one were related to high levels of grief and subsequent physical health changes.
  • Those with living loved ones reported higher levels of anxiety, financial strain, and helplessness than the bereaved, who reported less happiness and meaning in daily life.

Families reported cost, access, stigma and the COVID-19 pandemic as barriers to receiving adequate supports. Overall families show high rates of emotional and physical health concerns and those with a loved one still struggling are at ongoing risk. Family members are motivated for treatment despite the reported barriers. Focused study and target supports are required. STOPPING THE HARM – STUDY SUMMARY 



Publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals

Bereaved mothers’ engagement in drug policy reform: A multisite qualitative analysis. By Emily Jenkins (UBC), Allie Slemon (UBC), Heather Morris (UofA), Elaine Hyshka (UofA), Petra Schulz (MSTH) and Rebecca J. Haines-Saah (UpfC).

Published in the International Journal of Drug Policy. (October, 2020).


Stronger Together - BC Project

Stronger Together Family Support Groups

Because we can’t do it alone!

Stronger Together BC and Stronger Together Canada are two projects led by Moms Stop the Harm that aim to expand and enhance peer-led supports for families impacted by substance use.

We offer two types of support groups through peer training and capacity-building

  1. Healing Hearts Groups for families who have lost loved ones)
  2. Holding Hope Groups for families whose loved ones are using substances


Stronger Together BC:

The build family capacity across BC this the project has four key components:

  1. Engagement of families with lived experience across British Columbia who are interested in starting a support group in their community
  2. Training and ongoing development of families to become Healing Hearts or Holding Hope facilitators
  3. Development of a library of resources and toolkits to ensure the success of facilitators across all communities.
  4. Development of an evidence base on the impact of grief on Canadian families

Stronger Together BC groups are now active in several communities in British Columbia. If you are living in BC and you are looking for a support group or would like to become trained to facilitate a support group, contact us at

Funded by the BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the Stronger Together project was launched in 2020 to bring together all BC families who have been impacted by substance use related harms. 

Stronger Together Canada

The primary goal of Stronger Together Canada is to improve outcomes for individuals and families who live with problematic substance use and for families who have experienced substance use-related losses. Just like Stronger Together BC, the Canada project will provide Healing Heart and Holding Hope groups in communities most affected by the drug poisoning crisis. 

Each group will be led by volunteer facilitators recruited from those who have experienced substance use-related harms or the loss of a family member. Peer facilitators will be trained and supported by the Stronger Together project team. The groups are open to all families with lived and living experience in the region where they are offered. 

The project also aims to reach out to Indigenous communities and to strengthen families’ ability to navigate complex health systems in supporting their loved ones and in dealing with grief.

This project, funded by the Health Canada Substance Use and Addictions Program, was launched in February 2021 and is now recruiting peer facilitators.

If you live anywhere in Canada, but outside of BC and would like to become trained to facilitate a support group, contact us at