NSW Deputy Mental Health Commissioner Fay Jackson is among the co-editors of a new book that charts the essential role peer work plays in helping people recover from mental health issues.
Peer Work in Australia: A New Future for Mental Health was launched in September 2018 by the federal Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP. The book provides a detailed overview of peer work in Australia, including its development, its embrace by mainstream mental health services in the past 20 years, and directions for its future.
The book aims to provide evidence on peer work at a time when both the mental health and disability support sectors in Australia are going through major reform, and seeking better ways to support people.
“This wonderful, ground-breaking book proves that this is the era for peer work,” said Ms Jackson at the book’s launch.
“Services and people will experience that peer workers possess the compassion, mutual experiences, understanding, and ability to use their lived experience purposefully.”
Peer workers are people employed based on their personal lived experience of mental health issues and recovery (consumer peer worker), or their lived experience of supporting family or friends with mental heath issues (carer peer worker), to help others in their recovery journey. Their lived experience is an essential qualification for their job, in addition to other skills and experience they need to perform their role.
Peer Work in Australia was co-produced by peer workers and their allies, with support from community-based mental health services Flourish Australia and Mind Australia.
In addition to Ms Jackson, the book’s co-editors were mental health reform leader Janet Meagher AM; Tim Fong (Flourish Australia); Anthony Stratford (Mind Australia) and Erandathie Jayakody (Mind Australia).
NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey said the book is a welcome addition to the growing literature on peer work.
“This book offers a privileged opportunity to hear from Australia’s most recognised peer leaders on how mental health peer work can transform our services, systems and the lives of people,” said Ms Lourey.
“Developing the peer workforce is a priority in NSW, and I encourage individuals, organisations and services to draw on this resource to help us get there.”
To learn more about or order Peer Work in Australia: A New Future for Mental Health, visit Booktopia.