Why this is important
Peer workers play an integral 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 an expertise drawn from their own experience, and provide hope and model recovery for others who are mentally unwell.
People with lived experience of mental illness fulfil many roles across the mental health system, including management, education and research positions, as well as peer consumer and carer supports.
Providing an accurate picture of the size of the NSW peer workforce is not straightforward. The data reported herein follows the national standards for reporting in accordance with the National Minimum Data Set for the Mental Health Establishments (MHE) data. However, the MHE collection under-reports the peer workforce due to there being no consistent national award arrangements for peer workers, with many being employed as educators or managers which are difficult to distinguish in national reporting.
It is important to note that NSW Health maintains a regular manual collection which suggests that the rate reported here are under-estimates. 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 results should therefore be treated with caution.
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||3.9|
|Consumer peer workers||3.1|
|Carer peer workers||0.8|