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Peer workforce

Emerging evidence suggests employment of peer workers in mental health services can contribute to positive outcomes for people with mental illness and potentially reduce costs for mental health services.

While peer workforces have been developing in some mental health services, they are not widespread.

Supporting lived experience in the health sector

In 2016, the Commission funded Central Queensland University to undertake a research project examining the barriers and enablers to the employment of people with a lived experience (peer workers) in the mental health sector.

This research focused specifically on understanding the perspectives of senior service managers, including those in public and non-government mental health services.

The research Chief Investigator was Dr Louise Byrne. 

Report and summary

The Identifying Barriers to Change report and Identifying Barriers to Change summary identify a number of key issues for supporting the peer workforce:

  1. Organisational culture
  2. Role clarity, support and supervision
  3. Career pathways

Key findings are outlined in the Commission’s Summary: Barriers and enablers to lived experience workforce development.

The research is expected to inform the development of tools to support the employment of peer workers in mental health settings and enhance leadership and engagement opportunities for people with a lived experience in system reform.