Promoting Peer Work

Promoting Peer Work in the NT is a project funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in collaboration with the Mental Health Association of Central Australia to create employment opportunities for peer workers in the Northern Territory. Free training is available to peer workers and organisations in 2020.

What is a Mental Health Peer Worker?

Mental Health Peer Workers are trained in how to use their lived experience of mental illness and recovery to assist others on their recovery journey. Roles in the workplace range from support work to education and consumer consultants.

Peer Worker Training

There are 2 courses starting in August/September 2020:

  • Foundations in Peer Work
  • Accredited Training – Cert IV Peer Work units

Both courses will have training in Darwin and Alice Springs on the same dates. People in other NT regions will have an online delivery option.

Please complete an Expression of Interest Form (which covers both courses) due Friday 14th August 2020.

1. Foundations in Peer Work.

Dates: August 31; September 7; 14; 21; 28

Download the course information sheet here

For people with lived experience of mental illness and recovery who want to learn about becoming peer workers and gaining first level training. Students need to feel comfortable talking in a group. There are no assessments. This training is once a week for 5 weeks on Monday morning 9:30 – 2pm.

2. Accredited Training – 4 x Certificate IV Peer Work Units.

Dates: September 11; October 2; October 23; November 13; December 4

Download the course information sheet here

This training requires an 80 hour work placement. It is suitable for people with lived experience who are working (paid or unpaid) in mental health-related services or are able to organise a volunteer placement. The 4 units represent 25% of the Cert IV Peer Work and are being offered for the first time in the NT. The work placement needs to occur during the training. This training is 1 session every 3 weeks. Friday mornings 9:00am – 12:30pm.

For Organisations – Community of Practice and Private Consulting

Consultant Dorothy Belperio is a leader in the field of Peer Workforce development and the community services industry.

The Promoting Peer Work project is offering private consultation and coaching for senior managers who want to build capacity in their organisations to employ peer workers. Dorothy will visit the NT a number of times over the coming months to convene a Community of Practice for organisations that engage peer-workers.

For more information on Promoting Peer Work opportunities contact Ruth Apelt, Project Officer 0427 285 123 or email

Growing the Peer Workforce

All Australian governments recognise the evidence-based value of peer workers in recovery-oriented mental health services. Reforms and opportunities are in progress to support the development of peer workforces. National Guidelines for the Peer Workforce are being finalised now.

The NDIS Psychosocial Recovery Coach or “Recovery Coach” is a new service item under the NDIS for people whose primary disability is psychosocial (mental illness). Recovery Coaches can have lived or learned experience and require Cert IV training or equivalent experience. This is a new opportunity for qualified mental health peer workers. It is helpful to think about the Recovery Coach as a specialist life coach for people with mental illness who have NDIS plans. Demand for competent Recovery Coaches will grow.

The National Mental Health Commission’s Pandemic Response Plan has prioritised the inclusion of people with lived experience in co-designing services and providing peer support. The Commonwealth will use that Plan in allocating the COVID response funding of 48.1M creating more opportunity for organisations who are ready to develop their peer workforce.