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Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Development Guidelines

Under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (Fifth Plan), the Commission is leading the development of Lived Experience Workforce Development Guidelines by 2021.

This project will help support the Lived Experience workforce through providing formalised guidance for governments, employers and the Lived Experience workforce about support structures required to sustain and grow the workforce. Although local and regional lived experience workforce frameworks exist, the development of national guidelines will ensure consistency across Australia. National guidelines will also be a step towards professionalisation of the lived experience workforce.

Lived Experience Workforce Guidelines: National Online Survey

In collaboration with RMIT University, we conducted a national online survey to help inform the initial draft of the Lived Experience Workforce Development Guidelines.

The survey is now closed. Thank you to those who completed the survey, your feedback is invaluable.

National Lived Experience Workforce Development Guidelines Steering Committee 

The National Mental Health Commission has established a Steering Committee to oversee the Commission’s work to develop the Lived Experience Workforce Development Guidelines under Action 29 of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan Implementation Plan.

Following an extensive expression of interest process, we received a high number of quality applications from individuals, peaks and other organisations. An independent panel, which included independent consumer and carer peer workers, met to assess the applications. The following individuals have been selected to sit on the Steering Committee:

  • Lyndall Soper (NMHC Deputy, Monitoring and Reform)
  • Margaret Doherty (Carer Peer Worker; Deputy Co-Chair)
  • Tim Heffernan (Consumer Peer Worker; Deputy Co-Chair)
  • Darren Jiggins, Lived Experience Australia
  • Sandi Taylor, Indigenous Sector Perspective
  • Heather Nowak, Consumer Peer Worker
  • Jessica English, Consumer Peer Worker
  • Max Simensen, Consumer Peer Worker
  • Ruth O’Sullivan, Carer Peer Worker
  • Susan Adam, Lived Experience Australia
  • Emma Cadogan, Government Perspective
  • Megan Still, Employer/ Service Perspective

These members bring representation from across the mental health sector and across jurisdictions, including a majority of the committee being peer workers with experience across public, private and community-managed sectors. Membership comprises five consumer peer workers and three carer peer workers as well as one representative from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community who identifies as a carer. Three members bring an organisational perspective from a non-peer background and have experience developing the lived experience workforce. The Steering Committee also has representation from the LGBTIQ+ community, a number of young peer workers and people from rural and remote regions.

The Commission is delighted to have a range of skills and diverse experiences on the Steering Committee to help govern this important project.

The Committee met for their first face-to-face meeting on 11 July 2019 in Sydney. For further information on the outcomes of the meeting, please see the communiques from the Steering Committee below.


Summary of NSW Consumer Peer Workers' Forum Workshops

In October 2019, the National Mental Health Commission facilitated two workshops at the annual NSW Consumer Peer Workers’ Forum in Sydney. Participants worked in small groups to discuss a range of topics relevant to the Guidelines project. These included: considerations for peer workers employed in different settings; specific issues and challenges faced by peer workers in highly restrictive environments; and policy recommendations and practical supports that would further the development of the Lived Experience workforce. Download a summary of the key messages from the following document NSW Consumer Peer Workers' Forum Workshop Summary.

Summary of TheMHS workshop

In August 2019, the Commission facilitated a workshop on the Lived Experience Workforce Development Guidelines at the annual TheMHS conference in Brisbane. Participants shared their vision for the Lived Experience workforce, discussed what is and isn’t working well in supporting and developing the lived experience workforce and put forward a range of ideas for improvement. Download a summary of the key messages from the workshop in the following document TheMHS 2019 Workshop Summary.

Lived Experience Workforce Development Guidelines Leaders Roundtable 

On 30 November 2018, lived experience workforce leaders met for an initial discussion around the potential scope of the guidelines and prominent themes that could be explored. 

Get involved

Engagement and participation pathways for input into the project will be available as the work progresses. We acknowledge there is already a considerable amount of work being undertaken regarding the Lived Experience workforce. In conjunction with the Steering Committee, we will ensure a targeted engagement strategy is in place to capture and build on this work. This will include engagement with peer workers, consumer and carer peaks, sector peaks, professional bodies, as well as members of the public.

To register your interest in the project and stay up to date, please fill out the form by clicking on the 'Register your interest' link below.

Register your interest

We take your privacy seriously. Your information will only be used for the purpose of establishing an interest register for the Commission’s Lived Experience Workforce Development Guidelines project and communicating with you about this project. For further information, please read our privacy policy.