National Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Development Guidelines

Appendix 4: Guideline development process and evidence base

Confirming the key focus areas

The National Mental Health Commission’s 2014 Review contained initial recommendations for key focus areas of the National Development Guidelines. In addition, other key sources helped inform the National Development Guidelines. Key sources included, Lived Experience-led research, Lived Experience workforce guidelines/frameworks produced in Australian jurisdictions and mapping national and international industry publications. All the sources were cross-referenced to confirm the key focus areas and identify gaps in knowledge. Where gaps were identified, engagement and participation strategies were used to provide further information.

nmhc key focus areas

Engagement and participation strategies

The National Development Guidelines were developed in collaboration with multiple stakeholders including people with personal or direct lived experience (consumers), families/carers, designated Lived Experience workers, people working for government departments, mental health commissions, managers/employers, and nondesignated colleagues. Across the engagement activities 787 people participated. All engagement activities sought diverse perspectives to ensure a broad range of views, experiences, identifications and cultural perspectives were included.

Diversity and inclusion strategies

Diverse perspectives were a key consideration from the outset and were included on the Steering Committee and at the Lived Experience leader’s roundtable. Diversity of sectors was also represented by Lived Experience workers employed in the public sector, community mental health organisations, private sector and academia.

The project team included two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Advisors with significant expertise in consultation and policy, to lead Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific engagements, and provide guidance, input and feedback on the overall document from concept design to final draft. One team member also comes from a culturally and linguistically diverse background and has conducted research on the experiences of people who come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Insight and input from a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning, Asexual and many others (LGBTQIA+) perspective was not only gained through the focus groups and interviews but also by multiple research team members who identify as LGBTQIA+ and have conducted research specifically relating to LGBTQIA+ experiences.

Lived Experience roles operate from various specialist perspectives and skill sets. In addition to significant engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, targeted input and engagement included people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people identifying as LGBTQIA+, people with disability, people from rural and remote communities, people with experience of involuntary treatment, people with specialities and experience in: eating disorders; suicide; disability; neurodiversity; young people, and a variety of experiences with trauma. Previous engagement and research by the project team which directly informed the National Development Guidelines also included the perspectives of members of the Deaf community, veterans, people with experiences of hearing voices, homelessness, the criminal justice system, alcohol and other drug use or dependence. However, engagement with diverse perspectives was representative rather than exhaustive and further work to understand the needs of specialist perspectives and experiences is highly recommended.

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past present and emerging, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.