The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) is the combined national voice for consumers and carers participating in the development of mental health policy and sector development in Australia.
The COPMI national initiative develops information for parents, their partners, carers, family and friends to promote better mental health outcomes for children of parents with a mental illness. COPMI also work with health care providers, community support groups, educators, service organisations and the media.
The website provides access to an extensive range of resources, including participation strategies and resources for organisations to engage consumers and carers. The COPMI National Lived Experience Forum aims to engage people with lived experience (consumers and carers) and use their experiences and perspectives to inform the planning, implementing and evaluation of the COPMI national initiative.
PeerZone is a series of peer-led workshops where people explore recovery and whole of life wellbeing. PeerZone is a great practice tool for peer workers and a personal development opportunity for people with mental distress who use services. Developed in New Zealand by Mary O’Hagan and Sara McCook-Weir, and launched in Australia in 2012, PeerZone trains and support peers to facilitate workshops within organisations.
The Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) project aims to build capacity across multicultural mental health and suicide prevention sectors by strategic alignment with national initiatives and engaging with each state and territory. Their website contains a range of resources on mental health in culturally and linguistically diverse communities, including information translated into community languages.
The development of a peer workforce in NSW is one of the recommendations in Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW: 2014-2024 Section 8.2, (Living Well) as adopted by the NSW Government.
People with lived experience of mental illness hold expertise that is incredibly valuable. Employing people with lived experience in peer worker roles to support others brings a tremendous range of benefits. Peer workers know what it is like to experience mental illness and can share experiences of personal recovery with consumers. People who are living well with mental illness represent hope that is often missing in people’s lives.
Peer workers, consumer advocates and consumer representatives have been employed by the public mental health sector for 20 years but they do not always encounter positive acceptance. Stigma and discrimination, sometimes subtle and sometimes obvious, can cause a divide between the peer workforce and other staff. Formal structures, policies and procedures that support the peer workforce and provide a development pathway are needed if government services are to realise their full potential.
The Peer Work Hub has been created in response to the recommendations outlined in Living Well as an online resource for organisations wanting to develop and grow their peer workforce. The Peer Work Hub contains resources for organisations who employ peer workers, or are looking to establish a peer workforce.