Why this is important

Peer workers play an important role in supporting mental health recovery. Drawing on their lived experience of mental illness, or as a carer of someone with a mental illness, they provide support to others by working with individuals or families experiencing mental illness.

Peer workers provide expertise drawn from their own experience, give hope and act as role models for recovery for others who are mentally unwell.

People with lived experience of mental illness work in many roles, including management, education and research positions, as well as peer consumer and carer support.

Getting an accurate picture of the number of NSW peer workers is not simple. The data reported here follows national standards for reporting according to the National Minimum Data Set for the Mental Health Establishments (MHE). However, the MHE collection doesn’t capture all peer workers due to there being no consistent national award for peer workers, with many being employed as educators or managers, roles that are difficult to identify in national reporting.

NSW Health keeps a regular manual record of peer worker numbers in addition to numbers shared here. Advice from the NSW Ministry of Health indicates that in 2016 there were 63.4 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) peer workers employed in NSW public mental health services. This number has increased to 100 FTE in 2018. Any generalisation from the following data should therefore be avoided.

Indicator: Increase the proportion of the workforce in mental health services who are peer workers

Indicator measures Rate per 1,000 mental health care staff
Total peer workers 4.6
Consumer peer workers 3.5
Carer peer workers 1.0

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Last updated: 5 September 2019