14 August 2020

The Mental Health Commission of New South Wales has developed new video resources for the Peer Work Hub website to promote the mental health peer workforce. The Peer Work Hub is a free online resource that supports employers to build and strengthen their mental health peer workforces. 

Peer workers are people with a lived experience of a mental health issue and recovery or experience of caring for someone with a mental health issue, who draw on their own lived experience to offer support to others. Many peer workers undertake formal mental health training. Peer workers are in a unique position to build connections and rapport with people by inspiring hope and modelling recovery.

During the Commission’s community visits around NSW, people reported that the peer workforce is growing, and that peer work is becoming the essential ingredient for all successful mental health programs and services. This is wonderful to hear, however more peer workers are needed. Studies show that peer work support produces outcomes as good as, and in some cases, superior to, services from non–peer professionals.

The new videos capture the vision for peer work – as an essential part of every mental health and community service team. The videos are practical resources that address key questions and challenges that employers may have around building or growing their peer workforce, including peer supervision, supporting people with mental health issues in the workplace and the difference between peer workers and carer peer workers.

“The impact of the drought, floods, bushfires and COVID-19 have brought significant stresses to many Australians, and more people are reaching out for help than ever before,” says Catherine Lourey, NSW Mental Health Commissioner.

“There has never been a more important time to ensure that we have strong, expert and accessible mental health services in NSW – and employing a diverse peer workforce is a crucial part of the solution”. 

Tim Heffernan, NSW Mental Health Deputy Commissioner says:

“These engaging, informative and inspiring videos capture the essence of the profession I am so proud to call my own.

“Peer workers often hold hope when all seems hopeless, they enable and inspire people to live happy, productive and fulfilled lives with their families, their workplaces and their communities. 

“Peer work is about sharing your own story, about sharing the parts of self that allow others to find hope and their own way to a full and contributing life. These videos showcase some of these stories and relationships in a way that captures the power of peer work and the unique experiences of individual peer workers.

 “The videos demonstrate how essential the peer workforce is in fighting for a better, more equitable society where individual human rights and social justice are at the forefront and where recovery is a path that must be walked together.”

The videos can be accessed via the Peer Work Hub website: www.peerworkhub.com.au/resources.

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Last updated: 10 November 2020