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Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Project

Peer workers have the potential to significantly benefit the mental health and alcohol and other drug sectors by improving outcomes and cultures of service. To support this, the Mental Health Commission, in partnership with key sector stakeholders, is undertaking the Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Project (Project).

The co-designed Project aims to guide the development of a thriving state-wide consumer, family and carer Lived Experience (Peer) workforce across the mental health (including suicide prevention) and alcohol and other drug sectors. 

This Project supports the following strategic directions outlined in the WA State Priorities Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs 2020 – 2024 and Workforce Strategic Framework regarding co-designing:

  • strategies to build the capacity of the peer workforce across the mental health and alcohol and other drug sectors; and
  • a peer workforce framework.

The Project has been informed by existing work including peer workforce reports, studies and guidelines and aims to be consistent with the National Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Guidelines. The final outcome of the Project, including a Framework and strategies to build capacity of the Lived Experience (Peer) Workforces, will be tailored to a WA context, ensuring the perspective and intricacies of both the mental health, suicide prevention and alcohol and other drug sectors are reflected. The Project is governed by a Project Steering Committee who guide the work being undertaken and have worked with Lived Experience and organisational experts in the field for further advice along the way.

Engagement with over 200 stakeholders using co-design principles took place in late 2021. The Steering Committee, the Lived Experience Working Group and MHC Project Team have worked collaboratively to draft the Lived Experience (Peer) Workforces Framework that is near completion. Additionally, supporting resources that include practical guides for peer workers and organisations who employ them are currently being developed.

Furthermore, a dedicated webpage is being developed that will house a hub for the Lived Experience (Peer) Workforces and provide access to all resources developed through the Project and more.

While the Framework is being drafted, a number of strategies to build capacity of the peer workforce have been initiated:

  • 3-year program to recruit a number of Senior Peer Work Coordinators to Health Service Providers across the State (13 FTE from January 2023)
  • The roll out state-wide additional organisational readiness training for organisations looking to employ peer workers
  • Additional Certificate IV Mental Health Peer Work scholarships and traineeships to build the pipeline of peer workers including Aboriginal peer workers
  • Developing Lived Experience (Peer) Supervision training
  • The scoping of a peer workforce association (being undertaken by HelpingMinds)

Regular communique will be made available on this page to provide mid-Project updates.   

For more information contact the Project Team at engagement@mhc.wa.gov.au

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