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.

This project is in its final phase and heading towards completion on March 31.  The twin aspects of the project, encouraging organisational readiness and developing peer worker training, has addressed the two sides of the peer workforce – potential employers and employees. There will be some training in March for peer workers and a survey for participating organisations.

The project will culminate with a:

Peer Workforce Forum in Darwin, March 17.

Keynote speech: National Mental Health Commission – National Guidelines for the Peer Workforce

Panel: What are the Opportunities for Peer Work in the NT?

Peer Graduation: Accredited Training – Cert IV Mental Health Peer Work

(Speeches and panel will be streamed live to others in the NT)

For more information on Promoting Peer Work opportunities contact Ruth Apelt, Project Officer 0427 285 123 or email ruth.apelt@mhaca.org.au

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.

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.