What is Peer support?

A definition of peer support is accessible here.

Peer support can look very different depending upon the group or organisation delivering a service, the model they are using, and the skills or attributes of individual workers.  The values and beliefs held about peer support by the organisation and its workers will also influence ‘what peer support is’ within different service contexts.

As the peer workforce continues to expand, there is an increasing wealth of research and resources to support it.  Utilising the available knowledge will assist individuals and organisations in the application of best practice models, and contribute to the further development of the workforce.  There are many aspects of peer support to consider when looking at how service delivery can be improved, and not all elements will be relevant to all organisations or workers.

As an example, below is a small sample of resources about different elements of peer support work.  These resources were first shared via the CEPS website as a response to the identification of several key areas of interest for Victoria’s peer workforce.   Topics were identified as relevant via feedback received from the CEPS Peer Conference, held in October 2012.

If you would like further information about a particular aspect of mental health peer support that is of interest to you, check the CEPS Research or Resources Directories, or contact CEPS with your query.

Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work

The Certificate IV Mental Health Peer Work qualification and associated units were endorsed by the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) in May 2012.   This course will enable peer workers to gain a recognised qualification, thereby greatly enhancing the recognition of peer support work across the sector.

To download a PDF version of the course structure, click here:

For more information, visit the Community Services & Health Industry Skills Council website: www.cshisc.com.au

Intentional Peer Support (IPS)

Developed in the United States by Shery Mead, IPS is a model of peer support currently gaining international recognition.  The Brook R.E.D Centre (Queensland) utilise the IPS approach for service delivery and organisational philosophy.  Within Victoria, Our Consumer Place delivers training in IPS for the peer workforce.

Mead, S. (2010). IPS: A personal retrospective.

For further information about IPS, visit the website: www.intentionalpeersupport.org

For information about IPS training in Victoria, contact Our Consumer Place via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone: (03) 9320 6802

AOD peer support

The following resources have been produced by the Association of Participating Service Users (APSU), a service area of the Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC).

Straight from the source: A practical guide to consumer participation in the Victoria alcohol and other drug sector

The peer model manual: Consumer participation in action



Information for employers

Employer tool-kit: employing peer workers in your organisation.   Peer Work Project, BaptCare (SA) Inc. & MIFSA; 2009.

Helping employees successfully return to work following depression, anxiety or a related mental health problem: guidelines for organisations.   Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne; 2011.

Workers with mental illness: A practical guide for managers. Australian Human Rights Commission; 2010.