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Pathways for Supporting the 'Not Negotiable' Lived Experience (Peer) Workforces to Thrive: A scoping paper for formal lived experience expertise training programs and supports

25 July 2023

The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) is a combined voice for mental health consumers and carers. It aims to listen, learn, influence and advocate in matters of mental health reform.

The purpose of the National PHN Mental Health Lived Experience Engagement Network (MHLEEN) is to share approaches to co-design, lived experience engagement and the development of the peer workforce (Consumer and Carer Engagement and Peer Workforce Development).

The NMHCCF and MHLEEN jointly funded and managed the work of preparing a scoping paper for a formal Lived Experience Expertise Training Program. The NMHCCF and MHLEEN engaged the SA Lived Experience Leadership & Advocacy Network (LELAN) to prepare this scoping paper. The project scope initially was to conduct a training needs analysis, scope the existing offerings available, and provide recommendations and a project brief, including high level budget, for development of a training pathway for the lived experience workforce, including areas of specialisation, supervision and mentoring, blended learning offerings and module-based package options. As the project progressed there was a change in agreed scope and direction to more widely focus on the issues of lived experience capacity-building, leadership and the lived experience (peer) workforces. This was driven by ongoing and regular discussion with the Project Steering Group as well as limitations on training module budget disclosures.

The experiences of people with lived experience who are part of these workforces are centred throughout the scoping paper. These insights and contributions shine a light on the current landscape and offer an imagining of what the ideal needs to be.

The paper provides recommendations for improving existing training options, career opportunities and support structures to strengthen the lived experience (peer) workforces. They outline key opportunities for growth, expansion, professionalisation and advocacy to ensure lived experience as a unique discipline and skillset is valued, developed and embedded across the mental health and social sectors.

In reading the scoping paper it will be important to contextualise its content and recommendations to the time that it was worked on and written. The lived experience (peer) space is a dynamic environment with a lot of additional theorising, planning and resourcing happening within and across jurisdictions throughout Australia and the world. This means that additional reports, data and standards are continuously emerging and will need to be considered alongside the scoping paper and other projects
being overseen by the NMHCCF and MHLEEN.

You can read the full Scoping Paper here:

Lived Experience Training Scoping Paper