What is Peer Support?
Peer support is where individuals who have lived experience of life issues such as mental illness, trauma or addiction provide support to others who are dealing with similar issues. By listening empathetically, sharing their experiences and offering suggestions based on that experience, people with lived experience of these issues are uniquely able to support others.
What services does the Centre of Excellence in Peer Support offer?
This website offers access to resources, research and a Directory of providers of peer support services. The Forum is available to post your questions, showcase your work or share your knowledge with others. Our Project Worker can provide one-on-one information, support and mentoring to people wishing to set up or improve their peer support programs. Information about employment and training resources are available. Click here for more information about our services.
I have ‘lived experience’ of a mental health issue and I want to volunteer / support others. What can I do?
Using your experience can provide invaluable support to others in their recovery. Think about what your interest is and who you would like to work with. Is there an organisation which supported you to recover? You can look through the Directory for peer support service providers and contact them to discuss the possibility of you volunteering. You may also like to visit Our Consumer Place, a consumer-run resource centre which provides information, training, support and advice for consumer-run groups and projects.
Providing support to others experiencing similar issues can have an impact on people's well-being, including triggering a relapse. It's important to consider where you are in your recovery journey and what supports you have available.
I have ‘lived experience’ of a mental health issue, can I get a job supporting others in their recovery?
Absolutely! Many organisations run programs employing peer support workers, who have lived experience of mental health issues, or who are families/carers of people who have. The Personal Helpers and Mentors Program (PHaMs) is one example. You can check the Directory to find organisations. You will soon be able to gain an accredited qualification in peer support. Many peer support workers begin by volunteering first, to see if they like it. You may also like to visit Our Consumer Place, a consumer-run resource centre which provides information, training, support and advice for consumer-run groups and projects.
What is ‘lived experience of a mental health issue’?
Lived experience means you personally have experienced and recovered from a mental illness, life-changing event or addiction, or you have provided support and care for someone else through this experience (for family/carer peer support workers).
What peer support models are there? Why are there so many?
Individuals and organisations provide peer support differently and the models used can be suitable for a range of preferences, circumstances and needs. More information about peer support is available here. The organisations which established the Centre of Excellence Peer Support utilise a range of models. You can access research about different models here.