The National Mental Health Commission maintains an unwavering commitment to expanding and supporting Australia’s Lived Experience (Peer) workforce, especially as it continues to be recognised and integrated into the mental health and suicide prevention workforce.
The Commission recognises the crucial role the Lived Experience (Peer) workforce plays in meeting the mental health needs of our community.
Lived Experience (Peer) workforce members are valued professionals who supporting those experiencing mental health issues or distress from a human rights and social justice perspective rather than a medical perspective. They are employed to use their own Lived Experience of mental health issues, or supporting someone with mental health issues, to understand and relate to the experiences of others and improve the experience of service use and promote personal recovery and wellbeing.
The Lived Experience (Peer) workforce plays a key role in assuring the quality and appropriateness of services for those who access them, and their families and communities.
The Commission is pleased to share phase two of the National Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Development Guidelines. These are a key reform initiative of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.
The four new guides complement the initial National Development Guidelines, which were launched in December 2021, and are specifically for agencies and organisations who design, deliver and commission mental health services. The four new guides are:
- Getting started – the first steps to a Lived Experience workforce development plan in mental health organisations.
- Investing in Lived Experience workforce development – an introduction for mental health service organisation governance and executives.
- Lived Experience workforce development in mental health – a planning resource for Primary Health Networks.
- Planning the future mental health workforce – an introduction for mental health service managers and human resource managers.
It is the responsibility of all agencies and organisations in the mental health systems to take steps to bring Lived Experience into the design and delivery of services. We hope to create meaningful change through the effective development and implementation of an embedded Lived Experience (Peer) workforce.