National Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Development Guidelines

Foreword from the Commission

The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan is clear, Australia’s mental health workforce is in need of growth and development.

The future of mental health care is in building recoveryoriented approaches, providing meaningful support to people and modelling positive outcomes from service experiences. A thriving mental health Lived Experience workforce is a vital component of quality, recovery-focused mental health services.

The Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Development Guidelines (the National Development Guidelines) are the result of extensive consultation and a co-production process to ensure that national standards for Lived Experience workforce development are grounded in the expertise of Lived Experience.

The National Development Guidelines are published with a suite of documents that will continue to be developed as the Lived Experience workforce grows, and our shared knowledge and understanding of this essential work deepens. The first documents to be released are the National Development Guidelines, a roadmap for ongoing collaboration and a summary of the feedback that informed them. In the next phase we will work with the Steering Committee to co-design a series of targeted employer resources to support implementation. We would like employers to feel confident and supported as they begin to implement the Lived Experience workforce in their organisations. For many employers the concept of a new way of working may seem daunting. We would encourage you consider the many benefits of the Lived Experience workforce for your organisation and particularly for improving the experience of carers and consumers.

The Commission would like to thank all of the people who gave their time and expertise to the development of the Guidelines.

We would also like to thank the research and writing team from RMIT, Dr Louise Byrne, Dr Lena Wang, Helena Roennfeldt, Dr Melissa Chapman, Ms Leilani Darwin, Calista Castles, Leanne Craze AM, Margaret Saunders. In addition we would like to acknowledge the work of Ms Lesley Cook in helping us to build on the feedback from the Lived Experience workforce survey, discussion and interviews.


Christine MorganChristine Morgan Signiture

Christine Morgan 

Chief Executive Officer, 

National Mental Health Commission


Lucy BrogdenLucy Brogden Signiture

Lucy Brogden
National Mental Health Commission

Last updated:

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 and present, 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.